Web of Data for E-Commerce Tutorial IEEE CEC'09

CEC'09 2009 Tutorial: The Web of Data for E-Commerce

A Hands-on Introduction to the GoodRelations Ontology, RDFa, and Yahoo! SearchMonkey

July 20, 2009, HS 18, Technical University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria
''Important:''This page is maintained for archival purposes only.

A much improved version of the tutorial was presented at ISWC 2009. Click HERE for the LATEST materials

Organizer: Martin Hepp


In this tutorial, we will (1) explain the immediate business benefits of joining the Web of Data for Web shops, manufacturers of commodities, and service providers of any kind, (2) show how any commercial Web site can embed details of its business and offerings as RDFa metadata using the GoodRelations ontology, and (3) demonstrate the usage of the resulting data in multiple applications, namely Yahoo! SearchMonkey, queries on Semantic Web data repositories, Mashups, and the import from and export to popular Web shop software. Participants will learn how to use the GoodRelations ontology to augment Web shops and other Web applications with metadata on business entities, products and services, prices, warranty, shop locations, terms and conditions, etc. This will improve the visibility of an offering in next generation Web search engines, allow more precise search, and support partners in the value chain to extract and reuse product model data easily. At the same time, the tutorial will explain the modeling of more complex RDF patterns in RDFa.

The tutorial will also serve as a self-contained introduction of what the Web of Data is, which benefits it will provide for businesses, and why now is the time to get involved.

Current Relevance

There are three recent key developments in semantic technology that create a need for broad audiences to acquire a solid understanding of the presented technology, plus respective practical skills:

  • RDFa has become a W3C Recommendation:This means there is now a stable, standard syntax for embedding RDF metadata into XHTML Web content, which paves the way to adoption by mainstream Web developers.
  • GoodRelations ontology release and adoption:The GoodRelations ontology has been released and is experiencing strong support from major vendors and initiatives from the Semantic Web community and traditional corporations.
  • Yahoo! SearchMonkey: Due to the official endorsement of GoodRelations by Yahoo! SearchMonkey, there is now an immediate, easy-to-communicate incentive for any business in the world to add respective metadata.

Tutorial Description

The GoodRelations ontology is now being adopted by major technology vendors and allows more precise product and services search, and frictionless product data interchange on the Web. Different from previous proposals, GoodRelations is stable and mature, and runs on current Semantic Web and Web infrastructure. Also, there is a direct business incentive to add respective metadata as of now, since Yahoo! SearchMonkey will crawl GoodRelations annotations and use that to display additional details of an offering. With RDFa being a W3C Recommendation, there now exists a powerful standard syntax for embedding respective data into existing Web content.

In this tutorial, participants will learn how to use the GoodRelations ontology to augment Web shops and other Web applications with metadata on business entities, products and services, prices, warranty, shop locations, terms and conditions, etc. This will improve the visibility of an offering in next generation Web search engines, allow more precise search, and support partners in the value chain to extract and reuse product model data easily.

We will explain the theoretical background and give hands-on, step-by-step instructions on augmenting existing static and dynamic Web sites by detailed Semantic Web metadata in RDFa. Then, we will show how this metadata can be used by Yahoo! SearchMonkey applications, and improve the appearance, detail, and visibility for precise queries.

Aims and Learning Goals

Participants will be empowered to use the GoodRelations conceptual structures and the RDFa syntax to augment static and dynamic Web sites by the various relevant details of a commercial Web presence, e.g. on the business entity, range of products and services, pricing and availability, etc. Since the GoodRelations ontology is much more sophisticated than simple vocabularies like foaf or Dublin Core, this also introduces RDFa modeling patterns for more complex RDF structures. On the data consumption and usage side, the tutorial will explain how the resulting metadata will be considered by Semantic Web search engines, repositories, and indexing services, and how it can be usefully combined with other open data on the Web, namely sources from the LOD cloud.

Target Audience

The tutorial is suited for anybody with a basic understanding of HTML/XHTML markup languages and Web architecture. It is well suited for practitioners and researchers from adjacent fields who are seeking a self-contained, concise, and hands-on introduction to using the Semantic Web for their needs. For experienced Semantic Web researchers, the tutorial will provide proven recipes and modeling patterns for using the GoodRelations ontology for their projects, and insight into the more complex aspects of RDFa.

Presentation Method

We will use a combination of

  • presentations with clearly stated learning goals,
  • hands-on exercises,
  • quizzes for a quick check of understanding, and
  • a final group project

to develop the practical skills and theoretical background.

Technical Requirements

All participants should bring their own computer. Respective software will be made available on this Web page prior to CEC 2009.

Important:Please install at least the Twinkle tool on your computer and create bookmarks for the other tools from the software tools section below. You will need Internet access to use the tools and to complete the exercises.

Outline and Schedule

  1. Overview and Motivation: Why the Web of Data is Now (10 min)
    #The Web of Data and the Linked Open Data Initiative
    #The GoodRelations Ontology
    #Semantic Web Statistics and Growth

  2. Quick Review of Prerequisites (20 min)

    1. Markup Languages – XML, HTML, XHTML
    2. Semantic Web for Web Masters: RDF, RDF-S, OWL
    3. Tooling and Infrastructure: Editors, Repositories, Parsers, Frameworks
    4. Linked Data Principles
  3. The GoodRelations Ontology: E-Commerce on the Web of Data (30 min)

  4. RDFa: Bridging the Web of Documents with the Web of Data (30 min)

  5. Expressing GoodRelations Data in RDFa: A Running Example (30 min)

  6. Querying the Web of Data for Offerings (15 min)

    1. SPARQL Query Language Overview
    2. Public Endpoints
    3. Examples
    4. Exercises
  7. Publishing Semantic Web Data: Make Your RDF Available (15 min)
    #Overview: Publishing and Visibility
    #Minimal Approach
    #Semantic Web Search Engines, Repositories, and Indexing Services
    #*LOD Virtuoso #*Ping the Semantic Web





    #*Semantic Sitemaps


    1. Recommendations and Best Practices
  8. Yahoo! SearchMonkey and Yahoo BOSS (15 min)
    #Data Delivery Methods: Making Your Metadata Known

    1. API and Usage
    2. Data Mashups
  9. Discussion, Conclusion, Feedback Round (15 min)

Total: 180 minutes, 3 h net time (excluding breaks)

  1. Optional: Hands-on Exercise: Annotating a Web Shop
    #Task Description
    1. Possible Solution
  2. Optional: GoodRelations – Advanced Topics
    #Preliminaries: Header and Namespace Definition
    1. Step 1: Business Entity
    2. Step 2: Products and Offerings
    3. Step 3: Eligible Customers and Regions
    4. Step 4: Price Specifications
    5. Step 5: Delivery Options and Delivery Charge Specifications
    6. Step 6: Payment Options and Payment Charge Specifications
    7. Step 7: Warranty Promises
    8. Step 8: Bundles
    9. Step 9: Services and Value Ranges
    10. Step 10: Shop Locations and Opening Hours
    11. Step 11: Consumables, Accessories, Spare Parts, and Similar Products
    12. Handling of Ranges and Intervals
    13. Products and Services: Models, Classes, and Instances
    14. Creating GoodRelations-compliant Ontologies for Products and Services
    15. Reusing Catalog Group Structures
    16. GoodRelations and  Semantic Web Services Frameworks



Online Resources


Important:*'This page is maintained for archival purposes only. *****A much improved version of the tutorial was presented at ISWC 2009.' Click HERE for the LATEST materials


  1. Use the GoodRelations Annotator tool to create a basic description for a Web site of your choice.
  2. Publish the file on the respective site and notify the PingTheSemanticWeb service.
  3. Create a dataRSS feed using the RDF2DataRSS tool, upload it, and register it using the Yahoo Site Explorer.
  4. Create an RDFa description for a small shop of your choice.
  5. Create a SPARQL query that lists all business entities (gr:BusinessEntity) that have a Web page (using rdfs:seeAlso), and test the query using the LOD endpoint at http://lod.openlinksw.com/sparql

[1] http://www.w3.org/2008/Talks/1026-ISCW-RDFa/RDFa-ISWC08.html

[2] http://www.heppnetz.de/projects/goodrelations/primer/

[3] http://events.linkeddata.org/iswc2008tutorial/

[4] http://www.sembase.at/index.php/Uad

[6] M. Hausenblas. Writing Functional Code with RDFa (how to convert RSS 1.0 news feeds to XHTML+RDFa), devx.com. Sep 2008.

[7] http://www.devx.com/semantic/Article/39016/1954?pf=true

[8| http://www.slideshare.net/mediasemanticweb/quick-linked-data-introduction/

[9] http://www.romaframework.org/



The tutorial was delivered by Martin Hepp.

Martin Hepp

Martin Hepp is a professor of General Management and E-business at Bundeswehr University Munich in Germany and a professor of Computer Science at the University of Innsbruck in Innsbruck, Austria, where he leads the research group “Semantics in Business Information Systems”. Martin holds a Master’s degree in Business Management and Business Information Systems and a Ph.D. in Business Information Systems from the University of Würzburg (Germany). He was the organizer of more than fifteen workshops and conference tracks on conceptual modeling, Semantic Web topics, and information systems and member of more than sixty conference and workshop program committees, including ASWC, ESWC, IEEE CEC/EEE, and ECIS.

Martin has taught more than 30 courses at the graduate and undergraduate level at universities in Germany, Austria, and in the USA.

Contact Details:

Prof. Dr. Martin Hepp
Chair of General Management and E-Business
E-Business and Web Science Research Group
Bundeswehr University Munich
Werner-Heisenberg-Weg 39

D-85579 Neubiberg, Germany

http://www.heppnetz.de (personal page)
http://www.unibw.de/ebusiness/ (group)

Phone: +49 89 6004-4217