KMi Planet link to knowledge media institute

Intelligent News Services

link to kmi planet newsletter     

KMi Planet was designed as a web based news server to facilitate communication within our laboratory and allow the wider community to access lab-related items of interest. Unlike most news-of-the-future projects, which focus on personalised news feeds, we concentrated on replicating some of the functionality provided by newsrooms. Our primary goal was to reduce the story submission overheads for the members of our lab so that they would be inclined to write their own stories as well as read other peoples stories.

In order to achieve this goal we developed a news server that accepts stories submitted using the lowest-common-denominator medium, i.e. an email message, and creates a well finished web page. In this way the system takes any formatting or technical pressures off of the journalists and editors, and allows them to concentrate on the content of their story. In this simplest communication model a journalist sends an email message to the KMi Planet email account. The subject line of the message becomes the headline of the story and the body of the message becomes the text of the story. If an image file is attached to the mail message, it is added into the story in an appropriate place.

This approach proved to be successful with a broad range of stories being submitted from various members of the lab. The system also became popular with visitors, as it offered an immediate view of the activities carried out by the lab. As the use of the system increased, more versions of Planet were developed with additional services such as intelligent agents, knowledge modelling and personalized services.

The Planet news server, as described above, was designed and developed by John Domingue in January 1997, and was inspired, in part, by the work done in the Lens Project at Apple Technologies Group by Stephanie Houde and Rachel Bellamy (see Credits below). In July 2001 the system was re-implemented by Trevor Collins in Perl using a MySQL database developed jointly with Kevin Quick, Peter Scott and Stuart Watt.

Participants: Trevor Collins, John Domingue, Kevin Quick, Peter Scott.

Contact for further information: Trevor Collins, KMi Research Fellow,


Related KMi Projects

Planet Onto

Due to the success of KMi Planet a number of knowledge management challenges arose, specifically; how to provide semantic search and knowledge retrieval facilities in an effective and sustainable way, how best to provide individualized presentations and news alerts, how best to emulate the behaviour of a newsroom team. To address these challenges an integrated suite of tools were developed under the title of PlanetOnto. These tools allow ontology-driven document formalization, and augment standard browsing and search facilities with deductive knowledge retrieval. In addition, the PlanetOnto architecture includes specialized agents, which provide personalized news feeds and alerts, and can proactively identify potentially interesting news items.


Empowering Learning Communities

As part of the Empowering Learning Communities ("ELC") project KMi Planet stories were studied as an example of communicative genres. It was found that the stories posted by members of the lab converged on a commonly used structure and vocabulary. Under this project further support for exploring and participating in the activities of the community were provided by exploiting the communicative genres used.



Rostra is a PHP based program for presenting news items or other articles, that can be seamlessly integrated into an existing or newly created web site. It automatically formats and creates web pages to a design template from a submitted article, typically consisting of a text story with an accompanying picture. The picture is resized by the server for each layout so that the client does not download a larger file size than is necessary.


Advanced Knowledge Technologies

The Advanced Knowledge Technologies ("AKT") project aims to develop new technologies to support organizational knowledge management. As part of the AKT project KMi Planet was used as an initial case study for exploring how recent developments in artificial intelligence, psychology, linguistics, multimedia and Internet technology could be applied to knowledge management. The AKT consortium comprises five UK universities and is funded by a £7M, 6-year EPSRC grant in the context of the Interdisciplinary Research Collaborations programme.


Related Publications

  • Domingue, J. and Scott, P. (1998) KMi Planet: A Web Based News Server. Asia Pacific Computer Human Interaction Conference (APCHI¹98), Shonan Village Center, Hayama-machi, Kanagawa, Japan, 15-17 July, 1998. Available as gzipped postscript
  • Domingue, J. and Motta, E. (1999) A Knowledge-Based News Server Supporting Ontology-Driven Story Enrichment and Knowledge Retrieval. Submitted to the 11th European Workshop on Knowledge Acquistion, Modelling, and Management (EKAW '99). Available in PDF and gzipped PDF formats.
  • Domingue, J. and Motta, E. (2000) Planet-Onto: From News Publishing to Integrated Knowledge Management Support. IEEE Expert Systems Special Issue on Knowledge Management and Distribution over the Internet. May/June 2000, pp. 26-32.
  • Motta, E., Buckingham Shum, S. and Domingue, J. (2000) Ontology-Driven Document Enrichment: Principles Tools and Applications. International Journal of Human Computer Studies, 52(5) pp. 1071-1109. Available in PDF format.
  • Collins, T.D., Mulholland, P. and Watt, S.N.K. (2001) Using genre to support active participation in learning communities. In The Proceedings of the First European Conference on Computer-Supported Collaborative Learning. Maastricht, the Netherlands. March 22-24, 2001. pp. 156-164. Available in PDF format.
  • Domingue, J., Motta, E., Buckingham Shum, S., Vargas-Vera, M. and Kalfoglou, Y. (2001) Supporting ontology driven document enrichment within communities of practice. In The Proceedings of the 1st International Conference on Knowledge Capture (K-Cap'01). Available in PDF format.
  • Kalfoglou, Y., Domingue, J., Motta, E., Vargas-Vera, M. and Buckingham Shum, S. (2001) myPlanet: an ontology-driven Web-based personalised news service. In The Proceedings of the IJCAI'01 workshop on Ontologies and Information Sharing. Available in PDF format.
  • Vargas-Vera, M., Domingue, J., Kalfoglou, Y., Motta, E. and Buckingham Shum, S. (2001) Template-driven information extraction for populating ontologies. In The Proceedings of the IJCAI'01 workshop on Ontology Learning. Available in PDF format.


The KMi Planet project has benefited greatly from the suggestions of colleagues and supportive users. Our thanks and appreciation are extended to the following people:

  • Harriett Cornish, Marc Eisenstadt, Sarah Hofton, Mike Lewis, Anthony Seminara, Austin Tate, Chris Valentine, Tom Vincent, Stuart Watt.

This work was in part initially inspired by work of Stephanie Houde and Rachel Bellamy in the Apple Technologies Group on the Lens Project.

  • Houde, S., Bellamy R., and Leahy, L. (1998) In Search of Design Principles for Tools and Practises to Support Communication within a Learning Community. SIGCHI Bulletin, 30(2), pp. 113-118.