The OntoPortal system uses ontological hypermedia principles to enrich the linking between resources (or concepts) within a scholarly community (such as the literature, projects and conferences), allowing researchers to not only position a concept within the context of the entire community in which they work, but more importantly, allows them to pose intricate research queries (such as What other papers discuss the XML standard?).
The links in ontological hypermedia are defined according to the relationships between real-world objects. An ontology that models the significant objects in a scholar's world can be used towards producing a consistently interlinked research portal. After formally defining the concepts and complex relations within a particular community, the OntoPortal system is used to project the relationships between the concepts over the information contained within the scholarly community. This greatly improves the navigational facilities offered by the system by adding rich and meaningful interlinking of the concepts.
While the underlying resources might only contain a few links, all concepts within the OntoPortal system are linked to every other related concept (as defined by the ontology). The resulting ontological hypermedia allows users to not only fully understand how the concepts relate to the rest of the community, but introduces the ability to respond to queries by following links (query-by-linking) as opposed to issuing a search query. For example, resolving the query, What other papers discuss the XML standard? simply involves following the link between the literature and the standard as this relationship has been made explicit through the ontological hypermedia.
Initially we applied the OntoPortal system to the metadata research community under a project funded by the Defence Evaluation and Research Agency (DERA). We used the OntoPortal system to provide a rich interlinking between the concepts in the metadata research community.