Authors: Pellegrino, Maria Angela | Scarano, Vittorio | Spagnuolo, Carmine
Last years witnessed a shift from the potential utility in digitisation to a crucial need to enjoy activities virtually. In fact, before 2019, data curators recognised the utility of performing data digitisation, while during the lockdown caused by the COVID-19, investing in virtual and remote activities to make culture survive became crucial as no one could enjoy Cultural Heritage in person. The Cultural Heritage community heavily invested in digitisation campaigns, mainly modelling data as Knowledge Graphs by becoming one of the most successful Semantic Web technologies application domains. Despite the vast investment in Cultural Heritage Knowledge Graphs, the syntactic
…complexity of RDF query languages, e.g., SPARQL, negatively affects and threatens data exploitation, risking leaving this enormous potential untapped. Thus, we aim to support the Cultural Heritage community (and everyone interested in Cultural Heritage) in querying Knowledge Graphs without requiring technical competencies in Semantic Web technologies. We propose an engaging exploitation tool accessible to all without losing sight of developers’ technological challenges. Engagement is achieved by letting the Cultural Heritage community leave the passive position of the visitor and actively create their Virtual Assistant extensions to exploit proprietary or public Knowledge Graphs in question-answering. By accessible to all, we mean that the proposed software framework is freely available on GitHub and Zenodo with an open-source license. We do not lose sight of developers’ technical challenges, which are carefully considered in the design and evaluation phases. This article first analyses the effort invested in publishing Cultural Heritage Knowledge Graphs to quantify data developers can rely on in designing and implementing data exploitation tools in this domain. Moreover, we point out challenges developers may face in exploiting them in automatic approaches. Second, it presents a domain-agnostic Knowledge Graph exploitation approach based on virtual assistants as they naturally enable question-answering features where users formulate questions in natural language directly by their smartphones. Then, we discuss the design and implementation of this approach within an automatic community-shared software framework (a.k.a. generator) of virtual assistant extensions and its evaluation in terms of performance and perceived utility according to end-users. Finally, according to a taxonomy of the Cultural Heritage field, we present a use case for each category to show the applicability of the proposed approach in the Cultural Heritage domain. In overviewing our analysis and the proposed approach, we point out challenges that a developer may face in designing virtual assistant extensions to query Knowledge Graphs, and we show the effect of these challenges in practice.
Keywords: Community-shared software framework, question-answering, virtual assistant, knowledge graph, SPARQL
Citation: Semantic Web,
vol. 14, no. 2, pp. 323-359, 2023