The usability of semantic search tools: a review

Victoria Uren, Yuangui Lei, Vanessa Garcia, Haiming Liu, Enrico Motta, Marina Giordanino

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The goal of semantic search is to improve on traditional search methods by exploiting the semantic metadata. In this paper, we argue that supporting iterative and exploratory search modes is important to the usability of all search systems. We also identify the types of semantic queries the users need to make, the issues concerning the search environment and the problems that are intrinsic to semantic search in particular. We then review the four modes of user interaction in existing semantic search systems, namely keyword-based, form-based, view-based and natural language-based systems. Future development should focus on multimodal search systems, which exploit the advantages of more than one mode of interaction, and on developing the search systems that can search heterogeneous semantic metadata on the open semantic Web.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)361-377
Number of pages17
JournalKnowledge Engineering Review
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2007


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