We Can Write Better Constitutions using Semantic Web
Share this Session:
  Juan Sequeda   Juan Sequeda
Co-Founder and SVP of Technical Sales and Research


Thursday, August 21, 2014
03:00 PM - 03:45 PM

Level:  All - General Audience

Over the last 200 years, countries have replaced their constitution an average of every 19 years. On average, five countries write new constitutions every year. The people who write these documents are often outgunned and under-resourced as they try to search and analyze constitutions from the past.

Enter Constitute (www.constituteproject.org), a new product developed by UT Austin, U Chicago, and University College London with the help of Capsenta. Constitute leverages a rich set of original data about the content of constitutions together with a complete set of constitutional texts. Users can search and extract constitutional passages using a powerful search engine based on Semantic Web technologies and then compare and analyze them. The goal of Constitute is to improve the efficiency and systemization of constitutional design and, thus, to support the independence and self-reliance of constitutional drafters.

Our presentation will:

  1. Introduce Constitute, its features, potential uses, and how it's changing constitution writing in countries like Tunisia, Libya, and Yemen.
  2. Explain how an OWL ontology representing 330 constitutional topics was created.
  3. Describe how the constitutional data was mapped to RDF and OWL using the RDB2RDF standards (Direct Mapping and R2RML) and Capsenta’s Ultrawrap.
  4. Explain design choices (XML schemas vs. RDF/OWL) and lessons learned.
  5. Illustrate how linking to other data sources can enrich Constitute.

Dr. Juan Sequeda is the co-founder and Senior Vice President of Technical Sales and Research of Capsenta, and the Senior Director of Capsenta Labs. He holds a PhD in Computer Science from the University of Texas at Austin. His research interests are on the intersection between Relational Databases and Semantic Web for Data Integration. Juan is the inventor of Ultrawrap, a patented system which virtualizes relational databases as Semantic Web graph data sources, which spun-off into Capsenta. Juan is the recipient of the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship, 2nd Place in the 2013 Semantic Web Challenge for his work on ConstituteProject.org, Best Student Research Paper at the 2014 International Semantic Web Conference and the 2015 Best Transfer and Innovation Project awarded by Institute for Applied Informatics. Juan is on the editorial board of the Journal of Web Semantics and has been an invited expert member and standards editor for the W3C Relational Database to RDF working group.

Close Window