Loughborough University
Leicestershire, UK
LE11 3TU
+44 (0)1509 222222
Loughborough University

Centre for Innovative and Collaborative Construction Engineering


Dr Darren Clowes


Hybrid semantic-document models

Project Title

Hybrid Semantic Document Models


BAE Systems


Professor Ray Dawson
Dr Steve Probets

Dr Julian Johnson

Director of Research:
Professor Stephen Ison

Research Period

2007 - 2010


Hybrid Semantic Document Models


In complex engineering domains, there usually exists various structured documents that an engineer is required to use and have a detailed knowledge of to perform their task. These documents normally consist of large sections of prose. It can therefore be hard to understand the precise objective of the section. These sections generally contain elements of rigour, which could be used semantically and more ambiguous prose which helps the readers understanding. One such domain is that of Tactical Data Link (TDL) standards, which are defined in the Department of Defence's MIL-STD-6016C. This document is over 7300 pages of prose and tables, with little diagrammatic information.

Using a completely rigorous approach such as a semantic model of the document can be problematic, as often the rigour obtained from the prose can be incomplete or be open to interpretation. In a complex domain such as military standards this can be quite hazardous. Similarly the current approach of using large prose has its drawbacks in that it can be incomplete as it is not clear what has been missed and there can be lots of duplication leading to inconsistencies.

As such, using the TDL domain as a template, this research aims to investigate and develop a hybrid semantic-document model for documents pertaining to complex engineering domains.

 Aims and Objectives

The project aim is to explore and exploit the possibilities of a Hybrid Semantic-Document Model in relation to documents forming part of a complex engineering domain. In particular the aims are:

1. To establish that a Hybrid Semantic-Document model is both a possible and practical solution to the problem of understanding and interpreting large and complex text-based documents.

2. To show that such a model and an associated toolset to use the model can bring demonstrable value to those working with the model.

Objectives include:

1. Performing a literature review to find the current state of the art on:

  • The current development and use of semantic based models
  • The current development and use of document models
  • Whether any form of hybrid model has been attempted before.
  • Potential applications of a hybrid model

2. Develop a prototype hybrid semantic document model to give proof of concept and establish the viability of the model.

3. Develop a toolset to make use of a hybrid model to assist engineers in their implementation.

4. Investigate and develop a toolset to assist in the migration of artefacts between models.

5. By means of interviews, surveys and/or observations stablish the current problems encountered using the existing text based standard for the TDL, and obtain a measure of the time taken and potential cost of using the standard in this format.

6. By means of interviews, surveys and/or observations conduct pilots to assess the quality metrics, usability and cost-benefit potential of newly developed models and toolsets.

7. Test the models and toolsets on different complex documents, to assess the applicability of the models and toolsets to a wider range of application areas.

Method and Current Status

Current work undertaken at BAE Systems involves ongoing work towards producing a semantic model for Link 16 of the TDL standard and development and prototyping of a document model.

A literature survey will be conducted to review the state of the art in document models and semantic models. This can be used to review the current models. In addition the survey aims to discover similar approaches for comparison and discover other possible applicable domains.

Development will follow an evolutionary prototyping model, where by experimental toolsets will be prototyped as proof of concept and used to assess the potential benefits of the approach, model or toolset.

Benefits/Expected Outcomes

The approach is expected to assist engineers through all stages of the product life cycle from design to fault tracking. This assistance is anticipated to be achieved from improved efficiency via saved time and improved understanding. Several tools will hopefully be prototyped to demonstrate the full potential benefits of this approach.





Clowes, D., Dawson, R., Probets, S. & Johnson, J. Adding Quality to Web Development     Dawson, R., Ross, M. & Staples, G. (ed.) Quality Issues for Today, The British Computing Society, 2010, pp. 123-134.

Clowes, D., Dawson, R., Probets, S. & Johnson, J. Quality Interaction with Database Driven Large Documents Over HTML, Dawson, R., Ross, M. & Staples, G. (ed.) Software Quality in the 21st Century, The British Computing Society, 2009, pp. 195-206.
Clowes, D., Johnson, J., Dawson, R. & Probets, S. Quality Issues of User Interaction in Large Documents, Uhomoibhi, J., Dawson, R., Ross, M. & Staples, G. (ed.) Quality Issues for Business British Computing Society, 2008, pp. 37-48.

Clowes, D., Kolovos, D., Holmes, C., Rose, L., Paige, R., Johnson, J., Dawson, R. & Probets, S. A Reflective Approach to Model-Driven Web Engineering Kühne, T., Selic, B., Gervais, M.-P. & Terrier, F. (ed.) Modelling Foundations and Applications, Springer Berlin / Heidelberg, 2010, Vol. 6138, pp. 62-73

Clowes, D., Dawson, R., Probets, S., Johnson, J., Holmes, C. & Ajit, S. A Multi-Layered Approach to the Development of Custom Tactical Data Link Applications, Proc. Of Conference on Systems Engineering Research 2009.

Clowes, D. Et al (Dawson, R, Probets, S, Johnson, J, and Holmes, C). Pilot Studies in Using the Semantic Knowledge of Information in Large Technical Documents to Aid User Navigation. Proceedings of The 9th European Conference on Knowledge Management, pp 129-138. 4-5 September 2008, Southampton Solent University. 2008

Clowes, D. Et al (Dawson, R, Probets, S, Johnson, J). Quality Issues of User Interaction in Large Documents. Proceedings of the 16th International Software Quality Management (SQM) Conference, 18-19th March 2008, University of Ulster, Northern Ireland. 2008



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