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September 7, 2011

OASIS (www.oasis-project.eu), a research project partially funded by the European Commission under FP7, promises to revolutionize the interoperability, quality, breadth and usability of services addressed to older persons through ontologies and semantic web services.

First results will be presented at the 10th International Semantic Web Conference (ISWC 2011) in Bonn, Germany (October 23 – 27, 2011).

How to support holistically the independent living and mobility of the older citizens across Europe? How to connect services for the elderly in an one-stop-shop fashion and interrelate and integrate those services?

OASIS (Open architecture for Accessible Services Integration and Standardisation), a research project partially funded by the European Commission (FP7-ICT, GA# 215754), has developed an open and innovative reference architecture, based upon ontologies and semantic web services. This architecture enables plug & play and cost effective interoperability, seamless connectivity and sharing of content between existing and newly developed services in all domains required for the independent living of older people and for the enhancement of their Quality of Life.

The project addresses the issue of direct re-usability of information across heterogeneous services and devices through the common understanding and sharing of contextual information.

The OASIS platform allows aggregation of different services which offers the unique benefit of enhancing each of the services through a synergic exchange of information. In consequence, each application can adapt to the specific needs of the user

By fostering interoperability, standardization and organizational / business arrangements based on cooperative and aggregating models, OASIS addresses some of the main weaknesses in this area. These include fragmentation and duplication, poor cooperation among the key players of the value chain and lack of sustainable business models. “By these means, OASIS aims to contribute to the sustainability and efficiency of social and health care systems” says Project Coordinator Silvio Bonfiglio.

OASIS will moreover boost and improve the competitiveness of the markets for innovative products and services, responding to the ageing challenge at both EU and global level, thus creating new opportunities for businesses.

The research work carried out by the OASIS Project in the field of ontologies and semantic web services will be discussed during the half-day OASIS Symposium (October 25, 2011:14:00-18:00), co-located with the 10th International Semantic Web Conference (ISWC 2011) in Bonn, Germany ( October 23 – 27, 2011).

Press is invited to attend the Symposium.

Contact: Dagmar Roeller – Email: DRoeller@polisnetwork.eu

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OASIS Symposium at the ISWC 2011: Hyper-Ontologies and Modularity for Semantic Interoperability

The aim of the OASIS Symposium is to serve as a forum to exchange ideas with regard to the realization of a semantic interoperability of services.

The common vision of the Semantic Web is the achievement of seamless and transparent interoperability of services across diverse providers by making the meaningful content of those services openly accessible. For content to become ‘meaningful’ it must be related to more general information schemes for which some semantics has already been provided. Such information schemes range from tag collections, which impose an indirect semantics by means of induced similarity across tagged entities to formal ontologies, which explicity represent class-subclass relationships, the attributes of such classes as well as additional information that may be known about combinations of such classes and their instances. Whereas the semantic information that is explicitly maintained in ontologies might appear ideal for realizing the Semantic Web vision, substantial problems still render this goal difficult in practice. The symposium will address these problem areas.

More specifically OASIS addresses:

(i) the inherent complexity of constructing the high quality formal specifications necessary for trustworthy reasoning and (ii) the tendency for many formal specifications to emerge with little overlap in their coverage, modeling styles and intended semantics.

The solutions being explored involve: the replacement of large-scale ontologies by small-scale, application-specific ontologies maintained by those who know their data best, the system developers; automatic and semi-automatic support tools for allowing system developers to flexibly relate their data with re-usable ontologies in their domains of application; and the automatic generation of code supporting seamless data transfer across and within applications. The resulting framework relies on the well supported inter-linking of heterogeneous ‘ontological modules’, which we term a hyper-ontology.

The symposium will present results achieved to date and – through the contribution of highly qualified speakers, external to the OASIS Consortium – will raise issues in the formal foundations and guidelines for future hyper-ontology work and discuss opportunities for new standardization initiatives in the area of hyperontology-driven interoperability.

Specific attention will be devoted to interoperability spanning complex services in the areas of Independent Living, Autonomous and Smart Homes and Workplaces and to the provision of cross-domain networked ontologies, a goal which is itself a substantial research challenge.

Relevant topics that will be raised during the OASIS Symposium presented by renowned experts both internal and external to the OASIS Consortium, include:

  • Modular Ontology Design
  • Reasoning over content from multiple sources
  • Query processing over multiple linked datasets
  • Creating applications drawing on multiple data sources
  • Open Ontology Repositories
  • Information and design quality of ontologies
  • Semantic Web Services and support tools

The program is completed by a Round Table discussion titled “Interoperability, Applications and Hyper-ontologies: the way forward”.

You can sign up for the OASIS Symposium when registering for the ISWC.

For further information about the OASIS Symposium, please contact info@oasis-project.eu or :

John Bateman – Chair of the Symposium Organizing Committee

E-mail: bateman@uni-bremen.de

Silvio Bonfiglio – OASIS Project Coordinator

Email: Silvio.Bonfiglio@philips.com

Evangelos Bekiaris – OASIS Project Technical Manager

E-mail: abek@certh.gr

For further information about the OASIS Project, please visit the web site www.oasis-project.eu

ÆGIS (Open Accessibility Everywhere: Groundwork, Infrastructure, Standards) first pan-European User Forum and Workshop ÆGIS is placing users and their needs at the centre of all its ICT developments. This is why we are inviting end-users of assistive technology (related to usage on PC, mobiles and the internet) to our first pan-European User Forum on Thursday 4th June 2009 at Research In Motion UK Ltd, Slough, Berkshire, United Kingdom. We aim at having fruitful discussions between both end-users and application developers, thus better understanding your needs when wanting to use accessible desktop, mobile and internet applications. It will ensure that future technologies and services will meet the needs of the end-users, and both mainstream and assistive technology developers. The next day, we organize our first Pan-European Workshop at the same premises. This workshop will present the preliminary findings of the project related to the Use Cases selection and preliminary user requirements, thus stimulating discussions on these issues between both end-users and application developers. Its outcome will be taken into account by the Consortium during the further course of the project. Key stakeholders from relevant areas are expected to participate (such as end users’ representatives and organisations, EC representatives, technologies developers, etc.). This workshop therefore is an excellent chance to meet experts from relevant fields.

Agenda User Forum – 4 June 2009
Time Topic Speaker
14.00 – 14.15 ÆGIS project at a glance Dr. Evangelos Bekiaris (CERTH-HIT)
14.15 – 14.30 ÆGIS technical presentation Mr. Peter Korn (Sun Microsystems)
14.30 – 15.30 Demos Mr. Peter Korn (Sun Microsystems)
15.30 – 18.00 Interactive (via discussion) generic use case user scenario presentation – with breaks Mr. Karel Van Isacker (EPR); Mr. Edward Chandler / Ms. Sally Cain (RNIB)
18.00 – 18.30 Discussion and conclusion Mr. Karel Van Isacker (EPR); Mr. Edward Chandler / Ms. Sally Cain (RNIB)

Agenda Workshop “Accessibility for All: Open Source-based Generalised Accessibility Support for Mainstream ICT Devices/Applications” – 5 June 2009
Time Topic Speaker
8.30 – 9.00 Registration
9.00 – 9.10 Welcome and Aim of the Day Mr. Karel Van Isacker (EPR)
9.10 – 9.35 EU Policies on eINCLUSION Mr. Miguel Gonzalez-Sancho (European Commission, ICT for Inclusion, Information Society & Media Directorate General)
9.35 – 9.50 ÆGIS at a Glance Dr. Evangelos Bekiaris (CERTH-HIT)
9.50 – 10.10 First feedback as collected during user forum Mr. Iván Carmona Rojo (FONCE)
10.10 – 10.40 Demos and Technical Overview Mr. Peter Korn (Sun Microsystems)
10.40 – 11.00 Coffee Break
11.00 – 12.30 ÆGIS Draft Use Cases and discussion Dr. Evangelos Bekiaris (CERTH-HIT)
12.30 – 14.00 Lunch
14.00 – 14.30 Standards for content (and content interoperability) in the field of eInclusion – and beyond Dr. Christian Galinski (Infoterm)
14.30 – 15.00 Accessibility overall Ph.D. Gregg C. Vanderheiden (Trace R&D Center University of Wisconsin – Madison)
15.00 – 15.30 Coffee break
15.30 – 15.45 Kick off of Open Accessibility Everywhere Group (OAEG) Dr. Evangelos Bekiaris (CERTH-HIT)
15.45 – 16.30 Round table Moderated by Dr. Evangelos Bekiaris (CERTH-HIT) and Mr. Peter Korn (Sun Microsystems)
16.30 – 17.00 Conclusions

You can register via http://www.aegis-project.eu/user_forum.html.

AccessForAll (not to be confused with this webportal) is a framework designed to define and describe resource accessibility. It currently exists as a number of specifications being developed collaboratively by a group of communities interested in interoperable metadata for describing accessibility characteristics of resources and in some contexts related user profile information.
Dublin Core metadata is designed to be easy-to-use and ubiquitous. A single DC term should convey important information that can be complemented by other metadata where suitable. For people with disabilities who use assistive technologies, very detailed metadata about their needs and the characteristics of a resource may be necessary if they are to have good access to information.
The single term ‘accessibility’ has been designed to perform the duties of a DC term for access: it warns users with limitations on their access facilities of potential problems with a resource. AccessForAll descriptions make a much greater difference and are, of course, recommended. A resource may be inaccessible to a user as it is first published, but subsequently augmented by an accessible alternative, such as a description of an image. In this case, the use of the DC accessibility term supports the addition of another term, such as has-version or has-alternative, that points to the new resource that may be useful in the circumstances.
AccessForAll is a new strategy for matching resources to the needs and preferences of individual users, especially, but not exclusively, for those with permanent disabilities. AccessForAll is a general accessibility strategy and the task for the DC community is to develop application profiles so AccessForAll can be realised across all domains in an interoperable way. The original AccessForAll work is the work of the ATRC at the University of Toronto, who have given free access to their work, and is supported by work in other fora in collaboration with the ATRC. The first version was made by IMS GLC for education, and is currently being updated to match the ISO/IEC version.
ISO JTC1 has adopted AccessForAll and the first three parts of the standard are completed. These include an introductory Part 1 (ISO/IEC 24751-1 2008); Part 2 that describes how to write descriptions of user needs and preferences for digital resources (ISO/IEC 24751-2 2008) and Part 3 describes how to write resource descriptions (ISO/IEC 24751-3 2008) for matching them to the needs and preferences; currently Part 4 & 5 (non-digital resources), Parts 6 & 7 (events and places), and Part 8 (languages) are in preparation. All parts of this ISO/IEC standard are to be available free of charge. The AccessForAll approach to accessibility has been implemented in several places, including at the University of Toronto and in the learning management product of Angel Learning.

More information is available on http://dublincore.org/accessibilitywiki/AccessForAll.

By employing semantic technologies the Access-eGov project supports semantic interoperability among e-government services across organisational, regional and linguistic borders. For service providers (on all levels of public administration – local, regional, national, and European) Access-eGov enables introduction of a (new) e-service to the world of e-government interoperability in an easy way. The government service registered in the Access-eGov may be localised, contracted and used automatically through agents and other IT components.

For citizens and business users the Access-eGov will provide two basic categories of services. Firstly, it provides a meta-service – depending on the needs and context of the user Access-eGov will find/ identify traditional and/or e-government services relevant to the given life event or business episode. Secondly, once the relevant services are found, Access-eGov generates a scenario consisting of elementary government services. Usually these scenarios will be of “hybrid” nature – i.e. combination of elementary traditional and e-services – realisation of which leads to a requested outcome (e.g. to get a new driving license, if you lost both your ID and the old driving license etc.). At the realisation of the scenario a virtual personal assistant guides the user through each step of the scenario.

Access-eGov is built on peer-to-peer and service-oriented architecture, addressing the semantic issues through ontology-guided mark-up of local e-government service interfaces. Component-based security infrastructure provides a complete portfolio of necessary security services (authentication, authorisation, attribute management, access control, data protection, auditing) that are accessible through web service interfaces.

All the Access-eGov components are delivered as open source solutions through the GPL license.

More information can be found on the project website.

The ASK-IT integrated project aims at establish Ambient Intelligence (AmI) in semantic web enabled services, to support and promote the mobility of Mobility Impaired people, enabling the provision of personalised, self-configurable, intuitive and context-related applications and services and facilitating knowledge and content organisation and processing.

More information can be found on the project website.

The ÆGIS project seeks to determine whether 3rd generation access techniques will provide a more accessible, more exploitable and deeply embeddable approach in mainstream ICT (desktop, rich Internet and mobile applications). This approach is developed and explored with the Open Accessibility Framework (OAF) through which aspects of the design, development and deployment of accessible mainstream ICT are addressed. The OAF provides embedded and built-in accessibility solutions, as well as toolkits for developers, for “engraving” accessibility in existing and emerging mass-market ICT-based products, thus making accessibility open, plug & play, personalised & configurable, realistic & applicable in various contexts; ÆGIS is placing users and their needs at the centre of all ICT developments. Based on a holistic UCD, ÆGIS identifies user needs and interaction models for several user groups, (users with visual, hearing, motion, speech and cognitive impairments as well as application developers) and develops open source-based generalised accessibility support into mainstream ICT devices/applications:

* desktop,
* rich web applications, and
* Java-based mobile devices.

All developments will be iteratively tested with a significant number of end users, developers and experts in 3 phases and 4 Pilot sites Europe wide (in Belgium, Spain, Sweden and the UK).

The project includes strong industrial and end user participation (the participating industries are among the market leaders in the corresponding mainstream ICT markets). The project results’ uptake is promoted by strong standardisation activities, as well as the fact that much of the technology results will be either new open source applications or will be built into existing and already widely adopted open source ICT.
More information can be found on the project website.