Method for Adaptive Faceted Ontology Browsing (tool Factic)

A method of adaptive faceted navigation for effective browsing of large open structured information spaces, such as the Semantic Web.

Institution: Slovak University of Technology
Technologies used: Java, Sesame, Ontologies, Web services, Log4j
Inputs: Domain ontology (e.g., job offers), user interaction
Outputs: GUI with domain ontology instances (e.g., job offers) that meet user-defined restrictions
Documentation: HTML, doc, JavaDoc
Distribution packages: zip
Video: demonstration video

Addressed Problems

At present, the challenge of information processing is shifting from using closed and relatively small information spaces towards the use of open and comparatively large information spaces. At the same time, user expectations shift from simple lookup tasks towards more open-ended learning and investigative tasks collectively described as exploratory search. A good example are users who seek information about potentially interesting positions in the domain of job offers.

Consequently, the challenge of large open information spaces lies in providing a simple, yet effective way of finding, sorting and viewing relevant information. An effective means to accomplish these goals is the use of a faceted browser if the semantics of the information are known or if it is well structured.


The basic principle of the faceted browser lies in the use of a classification ontology that describes important aspects of instances from a domain ontology, which are then used to define restrictions on the instances. The user can reduce the total number of displayed instances by enabling one or more restrictions thus decreasing the size of the visible information space. Individual restrictions can be further combined to form complex restrictions ultimately allowing the user to perform more precise queries.

Our adaptive faceted semantic browser enables users to take advantage of additional functionality over traditional faceted browsers (see also the figure below):

Future work on the faceted browser might take advantage of social networks of users, of an enhanced search process model optimized for focused search, general overview or exploration, and improved presentation adaptation.

Example of a faceted browser interface.

Example of the graphical user interface of Factic - our personalized faceted browser prototype.


  1. Tvarožek, M. & Bieliková, M. (2007). Personalized Faceted Navigation in the Semantic Web. In L. Baresi, P. Fraternali, G.-J. Houben (Ed.), ICWE 2007: Proceedings of the International Conference on Web Engineering. LNCS 4607, pp. 511-515. Como, Italy: Springer-Verlag, Berlin Heidelberg.
  2. Tvarožek, M. & Bieliková, M. (2007). Adaptive faceted browser for navigation in open information spaces. Proceedings of the 16th International Conference on World Wide Web (pp. 1311-1312). Banff, Alberta, Canada: ACM Press, New York, NY, USA.
  3. Tvarožek, M. (2006). Personalized Navigation in the Semantic Web. In V. P. Wade, H. Ashman, B. Smyth (Ed.), AH 2006: Proceedings of the 4th International Conference on Adaptive Hypermedia and Adaptive Web-Based Systems. LNCS 4018, pp. 467-472. Dublin, Ireland: Springer-Verlag, Berlin Heidelberg.