A web of knowledge: A conceptual-modeling perspective

David W. Embley, Stephen W. Liddle, Cui Tao

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


The current web is a web of linked pages. Frustrated users search for facts by guessing which keywords or keyword phrases might lead them to pages where they can find facts. Can we make it possible for users to search directly for facts? Equivalently, can we turn the web into a web of facts (instead of a web of pages containing facts)? Ultimately, can the web be a knowledgebase-a web of knowledge-that can provide direct answers to factual questions and also provide the confidence necessary to make those answers believable? We answer these questions by showing how to superimpose a web of data over the web of pages, resulting in a web of knowledge. Our research group at Brigham Young University has been working on this challenge for more than a decade. Our solution, which is based on conceptual modeling, calls for turning raw symbols contained in web pages into knowledge and making this knowledge accessible via the web. The particulars of our solution show ways to overcome three impeding challenges: (1) automatic (or near automatic) creation of ontologies, (2) automatic (or near automatic) annotation of web pages with respect to these ontologies, and (3) simple but accurate query specification, usable without specialized training. Meeting these basic challenges can simplify knowledge-web content creation and access to the point that the vision of a web of knowledge can become a reality. Throughout, we show that conceptual modeling plays a key role in actualizing these ideas.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationThe Evolution of Conceptual Modeling
Subtitle of host publicationFrom a Historical Perspective towards the Future of Conceptual Modeling
EditorsRoland Kaschek, Lois Delcambre
Number of pages24
StatePublished - 2011

Publication series

NameLecture Notes in Computer Science (including subseries Lecture Notes in Artificial Intelligence and Lecture Notes in Bioinformatics)
ISSN (Print)0302-9743
ISSN (Electronic)1611-3349


  • Free-form query specification
  • Information extraction
  • Ontology learning
  • Semantic web
  • Web of data
  • Web of knowledge

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Theoretical Computer Science
  • General Computer Science


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