Mangrove: Enticing Ordinary People onto the Semantic Web via Instant Gratification

Luke McDowell
Oren Etzioni
Steven D. Gribble
Alon Halevy
Hank Levy
William Pentney
Deepak Verma
Stani Vlasseva
University of Washington

In Proc. 2nd International Semantic Web Conference (ISWC2003), Sanibel Island, Florida, USA, October 20-23, 2003.


Despite numerous efforts, the semantic web has yet to achieve widespread adoption. Recently, some researchers have argued that participation in the semantic web is too difficult for "ordinary" people, limiting its growth and popularity.

In response, this paper introduces Mangrove, a system whose goal is to entice non-technical people to semantically annotate their existing HTML data. Mangrove seeks to alter the cost-benefit equation of authoring semantic content. To increase the benefit, Mangrove is designed to make semantic content instantly available to services that consume the content and yield immediate, tangible benefit to authors. To reduce the cost, Mangrove makes semantic authoring as painless as possible by transferring some of the burden of schema design, data cleaning, and data structuring from content authors to the programmers who create semantic services.

We have designed and implemented a Mangrove prototype, built several semantic services for the system, and deployed those services in our department. This paper describes Mangrove's goals, presents the system architecture, and reports on our implementation and deployment experience. Overall, Mangrove demonstrates a concrete path for enabling and enticing non-technical people to enter the semantic web.