Semantic Web & Ontology

Objective | Textbook | Lecture Notes | Handouts | Projects | Readings | Links | Homepage


This course discusses fundamental concepts of information structure, representation, presentation, as well as information exchange on the World Wide Web. It gives students knowledge of how semantics of the Web information as well as its metadata is formed, structured and represented/presented, and how the Web semantics is acquired and organized so that machines can understand information and assist human being to make better use of the Web information. A few lab works will complement the course for practical understanding of framework of the Semantic Web as well as its design.


The course uses A First Step towards the Semantic Web  by Wei Song and Min Zhang as the textbook.  The course has been given to Ph.D Candidates and part of master students in Chinese.

Details about the textbook:

    W. Song and M. Zhang, A First Step towards the Semantic Web, Higher Education Press, 2004

Some of the features of the textbook are:

    1. Introduction to the Web information and languages
    2. Web information and data: its structure and language – HTML
    3. Presentation and content on the Web: XML and metadata
    4. Relationships and Semantics: RDF
    5. Conceptual Modelling and languages: Ontology and DAML-OIL
    6. Knowledge and knowledge management
    7. Machine-understandable information exchange
    8. The Semantic Web and its applications: Case Studies

Lecture Notes

Professor: Zhengding Lu

Instructors: Ruixuan Li, Yuhua Li, Kunmei Wen, Maoyuan Zhang, Xiaolin Sun, Xiaotao Huang

    Lecture 0.   Overview of the Course (PPT)
    Lecture 1.   Introduction to Semantic Web & Ontology (PPT)
    Lecture 2.   Metadata & XML Schema (PPT)
    Lecture 3.   RDF & RDF Schema (PPT)
    Lecture 4.   Ontology (PPT)
    Lecture 5.   Description Logics (PPT)
    Lecture 6.   OWL (PPT)
    Lecture 7.   Ontology Integration (PPT)
    Lecture 8.   Applications (PPT)

Handouts and Solutions

No specific handouts. But the requirements are as follows:

    1.  Interactive discussions (30%)
    2.  High quality presentation (30%)
    3.  Good term paper (40%)  (the cover of the test paper)

Students' work: The presentation list preview.

Some useful notes on how to prepare and deliver a good presentation could be found here.

A list of questions you may want to keep in mind when reading papers could be found here.


Here is a small project about Protege, Jena and Racer.

Recommended Readings

1. W. Song, M. Zhang. A First Step towards the Semantic Web, Higher Education Press, 2004

2. Bernard-Lee, T. (2000). Semantic Web - XML2000. Available:

3. Tim Berners-Lee, etc. The Semantic Web, Scientific American, May 2001.

4. Dieter Fensel, Wolfgang Wahlster, Henry Lieberman, James Hendler, Spinning the Semantic Web: Bringing the World Wide Web to Its Full Potential, The MIT Press, 2003

5. Dieter Fensel, Ontologies: Silver Bullet for Knowledge Management and Electronic Commerce, Springer, 2001

6. Franz Baader, Deborah L. McGuinness, et al. The Description Logic Handbook: Theory, Implementation and Applications. Cambridge University Press, 2002

7. XML Schema Part 0: Primer, W3C Recommendation, May 2001
Resource Description Framework (RDF): Concepts and Abstract Syntax, W3C Recommendation, February 2004
9. RDF Vocabulary Description Language 1.0:
RDF Schema, W3C Recommendation, February 2004
OWL Web Ontology Language: Overview, W3C Recommendation, February 2004

Useful Links

If you are ready to be devoted to database systems, you should cherish these web sites which directs you to numerous precious web resource. 

Ruixuan Li
College of Computer Science and Technology,
Huazhong University of Science and Technology 
Wuhan 430074, Hubei, P. R. China
Phone: 86-27-87544285