Conference on Semantics in Healthcare and Life Sciences (C-SHALS) 

W3C's Semantic Web in Heath Care and Life Sciences Interest Group (HCLSIG)

Wednesday, February 25, 1:00 p.m - 5:00 p.m.

This half day tutorial will include two educational elements. W3C's Semantic Web in Heath Care and Life Sciences Interest Group (HCLSIG) brings together many leading bioinformaticists and life scientists to solve a very wide array of data expression/integration problems in terms of modeling, unifying and querying biological data. This work is founded upon the full suite of W3C Semantic Web technology standards that work together to provide a rich semantic toolbox for software and system developers.

The first half of this tutorial will present a nuts-and-bolts introduction to many of the W3C Semantic Web technologies. We will motivate the introductions with use cases and examples taken from the health care and life sciences domains.

The tutorial will cover the following technologies:

  • RDF (data model)
  • RDFS (schema language)
  • OWL (ontology language)
  • SPARQL (query language)
  • GRDDL (XML to RDF)
  • RDFa (embedding RDF in HTML)

Presenter: Lee Feigenbaum, Cambridge Semantics

The part two of the tutorial explores how the W3C HCLSIG has been re-chartered to continue its mission to develop, advocate for, and support the use of Semantic Web technologies for biological science, translational medicine and health care. Membership in the group has grown to 89 participants, with a wide range of representation from industry and academia. The HCLSIG tutorial will discuss the challenges and opportunities at hand. An overview of the activities of the each of the current task forces in HCLSIG will be provided, along with a description of how specific Semantic Web technologies are being applied.


  • Kei Cheung, Yale University
  • Tim Clark, Harvard Medical School
  • Vipul Kashyap, Cigna Healthcare
  • John Madden, Duke University
  • Eric Prud'hommeaux, W3C
  • Susie Stephens, Eli Lilly