Web of Data for E-Commerce Tutorial ISWC2009

ISWC 2009 Tutorial: The Web of Data for E-Commerce in Brief

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

October 25, 2009, Westfields Conference Center near Washington, DC, USA

Organizers: Martin Hepp and Richard Cyganiak

Video Recording of the Event

If you missed the tutorial at ISWC 2009, you can now watch a video recording of the full tutorial. It consists ot three parts:

Part 1: Overview, motivation, technology basics (suitable for business audiences and developers).


Part 2: The GoodRelations vocabulary in detail (suitable mostly for developers and data modeling experts; developers with a good grasp of GoodRelations could directly start with this.)


Part 3:Publishing and consuming GoodRelations data (suitable mostly for developers).



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 ISWC 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

08:30-10:30 Part 1

  • Overview and Motivation: Why the Web of Data is Now 30’
  • Quick Review of Prerequisites 15’
  • The GoodRelations Ontology: E-Commerce on the Web of Data 75’

10:30-10:45 Coffee Break
10:45-12:30 Part 2

  • RDFa: Bridging the Web of Documents with the Web of Data 45’
  • Expressing GoodRelations in RDFa: A Running Example 30’
  • GoodRelations – Advanced Topics 30’

12:30-13:30 Lunch Break
13:30-16:00 Part 3

  • Hands-on Exercise: Annotating a Web Shop 60’
  • Querying the Web of Data for Offerings – SPARQL 15’
  • Querying the Web of Data – Exercises 15’

16:00-16:30 Coffee Break
16:30-18:00 Part 4

  • Publishing Semantic Web Data: Make Your RDF Available 30’
  • Yahoo SearchMonkey and Yahoo BOSS 45’
  • Discussion, Conclusion, Feedback Round 15’

Optional Topics

  • Eligible Customers and Regions
  • Delivery Options and Delivery Charge Specifications
  • Payment Options and Payment Charge Specifications
  • Warranty Promises
  • Consumables, Accessories, Spare Parts, and Similar Products
  • Creating GoodRelations-compliant Ontologies for Products and Services
  • Reusing Catalog Group Structures



Online Resources



  1. Use the GoodRelations Annotator tool to create a basic description for a Web site of your choice.
    • Optional: Paste the RDFa snippet into that page and publish it
    • Optional: Extract the meta-data from the page as N3/Turtle using the PyRDFa tool and compare it with what you expected.
    • Optional: Notify Sindice and Yahoo of the new page
    • Optional: Download and publish the RDF/XML file variant from the Annotator.
    • Optional: Notify PingTheSemanticWeb of the file once published.
    • Optional: Create a DataRSS feed using the RDF2DataRSS tool, upload it, and register it using the Yahoo Site Explorer.
  2. Using Turtle & GoodRelations, describe the following business: Miller Tax Consulting Inc., having two stores, selling office supplies and tax consultancy.
  3. Convert the Turtle to RDF/XML and validate it.
  4. Convert the RDF/XML to RDFa using RDF2RDFa and paste it into a page 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
  6. Query the SPARQL endpoint at http://loc.openlinksw.com/sparql for the product properties and values for the product with the EAN/UPC code 8714574993836
SELECT ?p ?v ?uom WHERE
?uri rdf:type gr:ProductOrServiceModel.
?uri gr:hasEAN_UCC-13  "8714574993836"^^xsd:string.
?uri ?p ?qv.
?qv gr:hasValueFloat ?v.
?qv gr:hasUnitOfMeasurement ?uom.



The tutorial will be delivered by Martin Hepp and Richard Cyganiak.

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

Richard Cyganiak

Richard Cyganiak is a research engineer in the Linked Data Research Centre at DERI, NUI Galway, with an interest in web-scale information integration. He is a co-founder of the Linking Open Data initiative, a fellow of WSRI, and founder or major contributor to Linked Data related software projects D2RQ, Pubby, Neologism, Sigma, and Sindice.

Contact Details:

Richard Cyganiak
Linked Data Research Centre
Digital Enterprise Research Institute (DERI), NUI Galway, Ireland

Phone: +353-91-49-5711