UMBEL Unveils New RESTful Web Services

UMBEL, the subject integration project for the Web, today unveiled a family of freely available Web services to help publishers describe their content for data integration purposes and to help users find this content.

Burlington, MA, November 01, 2008 --( Zitgist LLC, in support of the UMBEL subject integration project for the Web, today announced the release of a number of freely available Web services. These Web services help Web publishers to describe and publish their content for data integration purposes with other content providers on the Web. Other services also help users find this content.

"These tools let ontologists and Web developers search, discover and use the UMBEL subject concept and named entity structures," said Fred Giasson, co-editor of the UMBEL project and CTO of Zitgist. "The added flavor is that these Web services now fully embrace so-called RESTful principles that have made the Web such as success. We also offer them in a series of well established data and formats," he added.

Giasson explained the two kinds of Web services. "The basic kind is an 'atomic' Web service that only performs one action," Giasson said. "But these atomic ones can also be combined into a 'compound' Web service via a pipeline model that can take more complete actions. What is cool is that the communication between each of these Web service instances and the external World is the same. Using the HTTP 1.1 protocol we establish the communication, determine mime type and serialization, get inputs, return status of the communication and possible errors, and send back the results of the computation of the Web service. This is what is known as a totally RESTful service," noted Giasson.

The UMBEL Project

UMBEL (Upper Mapping and Binding Exchange Layer) [1] is a lightweight structure for relating Web content and data to a standard set of 20,000 subject concepts. These concepts have defined relationships between them, and can act as fixed reference points for mapping global information on the Web. UMBEL is provided as open source under development assistance from Zitgist LLC [2].

"Tagging content with UMBEL subject concepts is one way to promote data interoperability on the broader Web," said Michael Bergman, the UMBEL's other co-editor and CEO of Zitgist. "These new Web services now make this task easy and free for Web developers," he added.

According to Giasson, four "families" of atomic and compound Web service endpoints are now being released to the public, with others to follow. These various services are available from the main UMBEL Web services site [3].

Freely Available

The UMBEL ontology and material are made freely available under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike v. 3.0 license. The Web services are also free and publicly available; sandbox endpoints and user interfaces for them are at:

For Web developers that want to integrate these Web services endpoints within their applications, an API documentation page [4] explains the overall RESTful design. Each Web service also has its own documented API. The standard data and serialization formats are XML, RDF+XML and RDF+N3. Some of the next pending services will be offered in RDFa as well.



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Zitgist LLC provides quality linked data products and services. Its proven approach to linked data is based on open standards to interconnect any form of relevant information -- on demand and in context. Zitgist is one of the innovative new companies in the semantic Web.
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Michael Bergman