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As the Semantic Web is gaining momentum, more and more semantic data is available online. Therefore, the second generation of Semantic Web applications need an efficient access point to the Semantic Web, taking into account the semantic nature of the knowledge available online.
Watson is a gateway for the Semantic Web, which has been guided by the requirements of Semantic Web applications and by lessons learnt from previous systems. Watson exploits the strengths of semantic technologies to provide fundamental functionalities for a more suitable access to online knowledge.
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Overview of Watson Functionalities
The role of a gateway to the Semantic Web is to provide an efficient access point to the online ontologies and semantic data. Therefore, such a gateway plays three main roles: 1- it collects the available semantic content on the Web, 2- analyzes it to extract useful metadata and indexes, and 3- implements efficient query facilities to access the data.
Design Principles.
Focusing on semantic quality: The Semantic Web is characterized by a great variety of semantic data, ranging from high quality, richly axiomatized ontologies to flat bags of factual data. While the whole range is useful, information about the quality of each semantic document is crucial to provide the most relevant access to users and applications. These indications are computed during the analysis phase and can take the form of measures used for ranking the results of queries, or of more complicated notions like agreement, compatibility, trust, etc.
Exploring relations between ontologies: Crawling the Semantic Web needs to consider, besides classical hyperlinks relating Web pages to semantic content, a wide and extensible range of explicit links between semantic documents (e.g., imports, seeAlso), More importantly, special attention needs to be directed towards the detection of implicit relations between ontologies, including duplication, extention, similarity, version, etc. When made explicit, these implicit relations can be used as a basis for providing more advanced semantic clustering and navigation of semantic content.
Providing rich, semantic access to data: Different levels of formalization are required when accessing semantic data through Watson. This should be taken into account by providing a range of access mechanisms that combine various query specifications, ranking measures and interfaces to these mechanisms, either for humans or software agents.

This development has been partially supported by the NeOn ( and the OpenKnowledge ( projects, using grants from the European Commission.
The Watson Architecture