Semantic wiki as a model for an intelligent chemistry journal


Henry S. Rzepa,, Department of Chemistry, Imperial College London, Exhibition Road, London, SW7 2AZ, United Kingdom
Wikis are now recognized as excellent collaborative content authoring environments (provided the appropriate level of author-authentication is achieved). In chemistry however, one also needs to capture both data and metadata in a formal manner, with correct datatyping, and an associated ontology (machine processable vocabulary). Potentially at least, the so-called Semantic Wiki offers just such an environment in which to explore how an intelligent chemistry journal article might be authored, to achieve a so-called SPARQL endpoint for logical analysis. Initial experiences using the Semantic Mediawiki environment will be reported, as applied to capturing relationships and attributes in an article on mauveine. Careful logical analysis (by a human) of an article first published in 1879 by William Perkin reveals that the erroneous molecular structure of this species, as widely reported in the literature up to 1994, could have been inferred as wrong by making use of the facts reported in the original article, with the addition of only a minimum of modern knowledge. The analysis centres on what would be needed for an intelligent software agent, armed with a semantic expression of the original facts as reported by Perkin, to reach the same conclusion, and whether issues of scale, and communal agreement on the appropriate chemical ontologies to deploy for this purpose, are in fact a reasonable and achievable goal for the chemistry community over the next 24 years.