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GoodRelations - The Web Vocabulary for E-Commerce

This is the archive of the goodrelations dicussion list

GoodRelations is a standardized vocabulary for product, price, and company data that can (1) be embedded into existing static and dynamic Web pages and that (2) can be processed by other computers. This increases the visibility of your products and services in the latest generation of search engines, recommender systems, and other novel applications.

[goodrelations] Repository of businesses?

Martin Hepp (UniBW) martin.hepp at ebusiness-unibw.org
Thu May 7 15:19:48 CEST 2009

Hi Nicolas:

Thanks for your feedback!

I. As for the eligible regions: The gr:eligibleRegions property uses the 
two-character version of ISO 3166-1 (ISO 3166-1 alpha-2) for regions or 
ISO 3166-2 , which breaks down the countries from ISO 3166-1 into 
administrative subdivisions.

This is the most widely used and politically consensual standard for 
describing geo-political regions.

By referring to standards, we keep the conceptual dynamics from other 
domains outside of GoodRelations. Also, it is much easier to export 
RDF/XML from existing standards, because ISO-3166 is very widely used.

The full argument is in the GoodRelations Technical report, sections 
3.2.2. and 3.4.5., available at


II. As for describing WHAT you are selling, there are multiple options 
in GoodRelations:

a) Use a precise products and service ontology like eClassOWL - with 
that you can say that you are talking of "galvaninzed bolt"s with a 
particular gauge and resistance to corrosion etc.
Pro: Semantically precise, allows for parametric search
Con: Feasible only if your range of products is already classified, 
otherwise you must first classify all items manually.

b) Just make each product an instance of gr:ProductOrService (actually: 
one of its three subclasses) and describe it in natural language.
Pro: Easy to create, even for less structured sources or special things
Con: Not a lot of semantic (though the meta-data of GoodRelations 
provides already a lot of added value - if you know that something is a 
gr:ProductOrService, its price is 50$, and its rdfs:comment field 
contains the word "Guitar", you have a lot more certainty about whether 
this is what you are looking for and regarding its commercial meta-data).

c) Use a proprietary hierarchy and convert that into a products and 
services ontology (details are here:
Pro: Often not a lot of extra effort over b), users have access to the 
source hierarchy for navigation and search
Con: Semantic interoperability between multiple hierarchies remains 

d) Using dbPedia entries - as you can see in the following paper, there 
are many striking arguments for that, in particular the broad coverage 
(more than 200,000 good categories - 8 times as much as eClassOWL contains).

Hepp, Martin; Siorpaes, Katharina; Bachlechner, Daniel: Harvesting Wiki 
Consensus: Using Wikipedia Entries as Vocabulary for Knowledge 
Management, IEEE Internet Computing, Vol. 11, No. 5, pp. 54-65, Sept-Oct 
PDF at 

Problems with this approach are that
- it is hard to filter out product categories from other dbPedia URIs 
(on the other hand, we could leave that up to human intelligence at the 
annotation stage). Also, basically everything that is an object could 
serve as a product (someone may offer New York city or the Moon for sale 
- legally problematic, but ontology-wise perfectly correct).
- Lack of formal attributes for describing the products in more detail.
- Difficult to implement for exports from Web shop software, since most 
businesses have not yet classified their products in terms of dbPedia 
URIs. So while ideal for manual descriptions using the GoodRelations 
Annotator, it is not perfect for bulk data exports.
- Mapping to industrial classifications, namely eClassOWL is difficult 
(same as with c)).

But basically we are in perfect agreement and we are already planning to 
add dbPedia URIs as an alternative approach for describing the type of 
product or service in more detail.

In the meantime, you can already do so manually by editing the RDF/XML 
file an attaching a link to the dbPedia URI of your choice.

foo:myProduct rdf:type gr:ActualProductOrServiceInstance
foo:myProduct rdf:type <http://dbpedia.org/resource/TV_set>

However, one must be careful, because the semantics of the dbPedia URI 
for types of products is not necessary that of a class of functionally 
similar objects. dbPedia URIs can be interpreted both with a "topic" 
semantics or with a narrow "class" semantics. If used as a class, does 
<http://dbpedia.org/resource/TV_set> subsume only actual TV sets or also 
user's manuals for TV sets?

But again - we are working on a model for the proper representation.

Best - and thanks for trying and the feedback!


Nicolas Raoul wrote:
> Hallo Martin,
> I am now browsing Sindice, and I just found this:
> <rdfs:comment rdf:datatype="http://www.w3.org/2001/XMLSchema#string">Art
> and Streetwear</rdfs:comment>
> "Art and Streetwear" is not very understandable for machines, and
> that's one of the most important criterion people will search for.
> Semantic can bring a lot here.
> So how about letting store owner choose terms from DBpedia ? In the
> same way http://faviki.com allows users to tag pages with terms coming
> from DBpedia. Maybe a selection of Wikipedia categories could cover
> enough to represent all businesses.
> Same goes for:
> <gr:eligibleRegions
> rdf:datatype="http://www.w3.org/2001/XMLSchema#string">DE</gr:eligibleRegions>
> Using <http://www4.wiwiss.fu-berlin.de/factbook/resource/Germany>
> would make it more semantic and more mashupable.
> Is there any reason to have strings instead ?
> vlg
> Nicolas.

martin hepp
e-business & web science research group
universitaet der bundeswehr muenchen

e-mail: mhepp at computer.org
phone:  +49-(0)89-6004-4217
fax:    +49-(0)89-6004-4620
www:    http://www.unibw.de/ebusiness/ (group)
 	http://www.heppnetz.de/ (personal)
skype:  mfhepp 

Check out the GoodRelations vocabulary for E-Commerce on the Web of Data!

Webcast explaining the Web of Data for E-Commerce:

Tool for registering your business:

Overview article on Semantic Universe:

Project page and resources for developers:

Upcoming events:
Full-day tutorial at ESWC 2009: The Web of Data for E-Commerce in One Day: A Hands-on Introduction to the GoodRelations Ontology, RDFa, and Yahoo! SearchMonkey


Talk at the Semantic Technology Conference 2009: Semantic Web-based E-Commerce: The GoodRelations Ontology


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