Semantic MediaWiki provides various simple interfaces for browsing the data contained in the wiki. In addition, there are two other ways to browse through a wiki's data: using one or more additional extensions that offer browsing of SMW data; and using an external tool that gets populated with the wiki's data via RDF.
The factbox is a box at the bottom of wiki pages which summarises the semantic data that was entered into a page. This also helps editors to check whether Semantic MediaWiki actually «understood» the supplied information as intended. Users can ... (read more).
The Special:Browse page offers a simple browsing interface for the computer-readable data of Semantic MediaWiki. By default, the sidebar for every page, within the "toolbox" links, contains a "Browse properties" link that leads to the Special:Browse page for that page. Users can also go to Special:Browse, directly, then enter the name of a specific page they want to browse. Special:Browse displays all semantic properties of a page (similar to the content of the factbox), as well as all semantic links that point to that page. By clicking on the icon , the user can browse to another article. For a more detailed description and some configuration settings, see here.
Simple search interfaces
Semantic MediaWiki provides a number of very simple search forms that allow users to find specific information. These search features are accessed in various special pages:
- Special:SearchByProperty has a simple search form for finding semantic backlinks i.e. pages by properties or property value combinations. See the respective help page for further information.
- Special:PageProperty displays all values some page has for some property. Users enter a page and a property name. The search displays a list of all values of the property on that page. If factboxes are enabled in the wiki, the same information can also be read off the factbox of the page. Since SMW 1.4.3, it is also possible to retrieve all values that a property has been given throughout the wiki, simply by leaving the subject input empty.
Viewing all properties, types, values and concepts
Each property has an own page in the Property namespace, similar to the category pages in MediaWiki's Category namespace. These property pages show all pages using the property together with the property's value(s) on that page, possibly with service links
Besides the links in the factbox and the normal MediaWiki search, there are also special ways of finding properties of a wiki:
- Special:Properties lists properties that appear in annotations in alphabetical order and indicate the frequency of their usage.
- Special:UnusedProperties lists property pages that are not in any annotations. This may indicate that a property was abandonded and should be deleted.
- Special:WantedProperties lists properties that are used but do not have a descriptive page. This is not desirable, since users then cannot find any documentation on such properties, so that confusion may arise regarding their proper use.
- Special:Concepts lists the concepts ("dynamic categories") created on the wiki.
- Special:Types lists the available datatypes for properties. See Editing for an introduction into datatypes and their relevance in SMW.
These special pages are particularly useful for wiki gardeners and editors, since they give some overview of how properties are used in the wiki.
These approaches all search for semantic properties of pages. To simply view existing pages about properties, categories, and types, even if unused or garbled, use MediaWiki's Special:Allpages to display all pages within these namespaces.
Additional extensions for browsing and searching
Other Semantic MediaWiki-based extensions exist to allow for browsing and searching through a wiki's data. The Semantic Drilldown extension, most notably, was developed to provide a drilldown-based approach for viewing a wiki's data; while Semantic Forms, Halo and others also provide interfaces for searching through data. See the help page on extensions for more information related to them.
External tool support
Semantic MediaWiki makes semantic knowledge available to external tools via its OWL/RDF export, and it therefore is possible to write external tools that implement further advanced browsing and searching functionality. Currently, many tools that work on RDF output are not very user-friendly yet, but the supplied data format RDF is easy to process and could be integrated in much more elaborate web or desktop applications. For more information, there is a list of tools that have been tested with Semantic MediaWiki so far. Feel free to add your own tool there as well.
Browsing interfaces en 1.3.0