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In the context of the semantic Web, notions of collaboration, interoperability, and reuse are intrinsically interrelated: interoperability implies reuse, which in turn is a form of collaboration. If we adopt this viewpoint, the semantic Web becomes essentially a medium for knowledge exchange, in which the knowledge produced by one agent is consumed by another agent, possibly to create new knowledge. A collaboration-centric perspective on the semantic Web introduces both challenges and interesting research directions. Clearly, it's no longer desirable that the process of authoring semantic content necessarily take place in a room full of experts and ontologists. Indeed, as we move from classic Web 2.0 technologies to scenarios in which semantic content is created, our technologies need to change so that it becomes possible to create and exchange knowledge transparently, in accordance with the medium's openness and the knowledge producers' various goals and skill levels. In this article, we examine three modalities for collaborative semantic authoring based on selecting and reusing external, open semantic resources. These three ways of creating semantic content correspond to three levels of interaction between the user and the created resources. We illustrate each level by describing a tool we designed in the context of our research on semantic Web applications at the Knowledge Media Institute.
Date of Publication: May-June 2008