Affiliations: Dipartimento di Informatica, Università di Torino, Torino, Italy
Note:  Corresponding author: Anna Goy, Dipartimento di Informatica, Università di Torino, Torino, Italy. Tel.: +39 011 670 6786; Fax: +39 011 751603; E-mail: Goy@di.unito.it
Abstract: Current users of digital devices have to face the management of a huge amount of heterogeneous digital resources, the switch between activity contexts, and the interaction with many different applications and services. This situation leads to a very fragmented interaction experience, which poses a great cognitive overload for the users and risks to cause lack of efficiency and loss of information. Starting from the limitations of both traditional mechanisms for Personal Information Management (based on the notions of files and hierarchical folders) and new proposals (tagging and folksonomies), in this paper we present Semantic T++, a system supporting users in collaboratively handling digital resources, based on the notion of “tables” (thematic Web-based collaborative workspaces), populated by “objects” (shared digital resources). Semantic T++ exploits a formal semantic representation of such objects to support users in organizing, selecting and using them. Its core is represented by an ontology which models table objects as “information elements” having properties and relations mainly (but not only) related to their content. Reasoning techniques can be applied to infer knowledge useful to provide users with a flexible access to table objects, based on different criteria, which can be defined and combined by the user on the basis of her needs. In order to evaluate our model, we demonstrated its technical feasibility by developing a proof-of-concept prototype, and we showed its advantages in the access to personal and shared resources by discussing the results of a user test.
Keywords: Intelligent Web-User Interfaces, ontology-based access to digital resources, ontology-based user interaction, semantic technologies, Personal Information Management