Yesterday I wrote a blog post about how Zotero could be integrated into the semantic web. Today more and more people seem interested into the idea and started to dream about the possibilities. In fact, such an initiative could have a deeper impact than only integrating a tool into an environment. It could certainly have an impact on how people are describing documents, citations and works. It could probably help people managing documents, creating and managing document portfolios, automatically generating bibliographic references, etc. It could even possibly help people and scientists in their daily work. Am I dreaming? The World had been built by dreams.

This morning I started the discussion on Zotero’s web forum and it continued all the daylong.

The Biblio Ontology

First of all, the discussion has been start by Bruce D’Arcus when he raised some possible issues related to documents’ URI and documents’ descriptions.

Snippets of Bruce’s Biblio Ontology are currently used by Zotero to describe citations data in RDF. He is pointing out that much work would have to be done on that ontology to let it be able to handle more issues related to document description on the semantic web.

The Zotero team got interested into the project

Dan Cohen, one of the presidents of Zotero, is quite interested into the project. Few considerations have been raised, but all in all, the project seems possible for everybody.

Next development phase

Now that I know that there is an interest from some people into that project, I think it would be good to start planning the next development phases of this initiative.

I am thinking about proceeding the same way I preceded for the Music Ontology and Musicbrainz. We should start by creating a community around the development of an ontology. If Bruce would be willing, I would suggest taking its ontology as the foundation of the project. From there, we could start thinking about what to change it and how to upgrade this ontology to meet Zetero’s need as well as scientific community’s.

In parallel I could work with the Zotero team to integrate it the Zitgist/PingtheSemanticWeb environment.

Also in parallel, another group would develop the Virtuoso Sponger Metadata Cartridges (the equivalent of Zotero’s Translators) to enable Virtuoso server instances to process the same citation data as Zotero does.

Finally, we would work with Zotero to create another Translator that would dereference URIs to get citations RDF data. This new Translator will be use, as I said in my previous post, to let Zotero be feed by Zitgist’s search results and browsing pages.


This is what is new with that idea. Now we should move on to consolidate the initial phase of the project: the creation of the community’s nucleus. Please leave me an email or a comment on this blog post if you would be interested in participating in that emerging project.

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