Web 3.0 is supposed to usher in the widespread use of semantic technologies. However, few web content management (WCM) and enterprise content management (ECM) platforms currently support the tools. A recent case study describes an integration between EPiServer 6 (news, site) and Smartlogic's Semaphore, which provides a model for other organizations that need to introduce semantic capabilities into their WCM and ECM platforms.

The Value of Semantic Technology for Content

Semantic technology is a set of standards administered by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) that allows machines to better understand the meaning of content and its relationships without human intervention. In the case study, a client wanted a semantic website that allowed users to more easily locate unstructured content in within their WCM platform. The key goals of the project were to:

  • leverage semantic technology to allow users to classify content and relate it to other content
  • allow users to tag content with terms in the ontology so that the search engine would index WCM content based on preferred terms
  • provide query-able services that could be integrated into search results 
  • create reusable components that the organization could configure for future developments

EPiServer 6 supports search, but does not take into account any semantic enhancement. Since EPiServer supports an extension API, the team was able integrate Semaphore with the WCM without reducing usability. What did Semaphore bring to the table? The semantic tool provides:

  • Ontology Manager/Server -- Allows users to leverage controlled vocabularies -- thesauri, taxonomies and ontologies to create relationships between terms.  
  • Classification Server -- Extracts keywords or terms from documents to best describe the document. It does this by making use of the information created by the Ontology Manager and Rulebase Generator.
  • Search Enhancement Server -- A server based application that provides an XML API to the model stored in Semaphore. 

A Custom Solution for a Semantic Website

The team integrated to the tools using a custom developed solution between Semaphore and EPiServer. The solution allows users to classify documents and post the results to the search engine so that the content is indexed. This allows the search engine to return related content and recommend documents based on the semantic description and relationships between the information.

While the solution described in the case study was specific to EPiServer 6 and a specific search provider, Google Search Appliance, a similar to technique could be leveraged to implement semantic capabilities into other content management solutions.

Additional details regarding the implementation are available on the EpiServer blog.