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SocioCortex - Model-Based Collaboration Environment

Last modified by Florian Matthes Mar 31


Collaborative work in organizations involves stakeholders with different interests & backgrounds which want to invent, design, build, analyze and manage services and products. Thereby, those stakeholders typically want to use their preferred content representations from diverse content sources and channels. Typical concerns in collaborative work are:

To address this plethora of concerns, organizations usually use lots of tools and systems (e.g., Wikis, CMSs, Databases) which are typically poorly integrated. Therefore, relationships between diverse entities of different sources are hard to model, analyze, and to understand, in particular when considering different content types and representations, and the relations of those entities to the respective stakeholders. As a consequence, tool-support for collaborative work requires support for knowledge-intensive processes as well as social, semantic, and content integration.

Envisioned Solution

SocioCortex is the next generation of the collaborative information system which was developed at the chair for years. This system integrates proven features of SocioCortex's predecessor Tricia (e.g., the Hybrid Wiki concept) with approaches to end-user-oriented quantitative model analysis (see Spreadsheet 2.0) and the support for knowledge-intensive processes (see Darwin). By exposing its features via a standardized API, the SocioCortex plattform can serve as a foundation for the development of context-and project-specific applications.

SocioCortex Architecture

Conceptually, the envisioned SocioCortex platform consists of seven layers:

  1. Annotated Versioned Linked Content Graph: Initially unstructured entities (and/or files) can be gradually structured by adding new attributes or links to other entities. Furthermore, SocioCortex keeps track of all changes of the entities, wherefore the user is able to observe how the entities evolved over time. 
  2. Multiple Dynamic Schemata: This layer introduces concepts to incrementally design data models by defining types, properties, and integrity constraints. Those elements impose a schema to the underlying entities, whereas the system supports the user in keeping those entities consistent with respect to the defined schema. Together with the first layer, it implements the Hybrid Wiki conept
  3. Role-Based & Discretionary Access Control: This layer cares about user integration and management as well as authentication and authorization. Thereby roles and responsibilites are defined at schema as well as at instance level.
  4. Search Integration: SocioCortex integrates proven and powerful technologies for faceted full-text search.
  5. Higher-Order Functional Language: SocioCortex supports the model-based expression language (MxL) as query language [Re14b]. MxL is a functional and sequence-oriented language and supports the most common query and arithmetic operators, but also more sophisticated functions (e.g., statistical functions and graph operations). Therefore MxL can be used for defining queries, views, data transformations, data analytics, integrity rules, and temporal reasoning.
  6. Tasks & Processes: SocioCortex also implements a lightweight and data-oriented approach to proDarwincess management in order to support knowledge-intensive processes. More information can be found here.
  7. Subscriptions & Event Notifications: Users of SocioCortex can watch their data of interest and thus get automatically notified on changes

In addition to those basic layers, SocioCortex also provides facilities to integrate different kinds of data sources (e.g., relational databases) and messaging services through data and messaging connectorsrespectively. Furthermore, a bulk dump & load component enables the fast import and export of huge data sets.

Applications of SocioCortex

Currently, the SocioCortex platform is used for the research projects Spreadsheet 2.0, Lexalyze, and Darwin.

More Information on the SocioCortex platform as well as an extensive documentation can be found on the public SocioCortex Website.