The Argument Web is currently constructed from a number of different applications. The Argument Web Application Library is online and continually growing.

The Argument Web is enabled by a combination of standards specification and server infrastructure.

The Argument Interchange Format, AIF, specification is available in a number of different forms. At the more academic end of the spectrum, it is built using semantic web technology, and so there is an OWL specification and an RDF specification.

Larger-scale infrastructure is current supported by a relational database definition which mirrors the specification in OWL, but is designed to simplify the scaling issues of the argument web, enabling inter-server dependencies to be created easily.

At the softest end, the AIF can also be visualised diagrammatically and so is also available as a DOT language (specifically, a DOT dialect).

AIF is, inevitably, convertable to a number of different languages for argument representation. The AIFDB implementation currently supports interaction with the following languages
  • AML (used by Araucaria)
  • RTNL (used by Rationale)
  • LKIF (used by Carneades)
  • DOT (used by many visualisation packages)
  • SVG

Currently, the primary Argument Web database servers are hosted at the University of Dundee, though additional servers have been set up elsewhere. The Dundee servers provide not only human-oriented interfaces for search, upload, conversion, navigation, summarisation, import and export of argument resources, they also provide programmatic interface to the Argument Web. These programmatic interfaces are at several levels of abstraction:

  • at the lowest level, a web services interface provides access to add, query and extract data from the argument web databases in AML, DOT, LKIF, JSON, RDF, RTNL and SVG, for which documentation is available.
  • a middle layer provides an interface for commonly performed actions, particularly those associated with dialogue. Components for generalised dialogue execution are currently undergoing major revision. Early results were discussed at a JURIX workshop in December 2012; further details will appear in April 2013.
  • a social layer provides an interface for the social web aspects of argumentation, providing a connection to authentication services such as OAuth. Again, and again documentation is available.

The following diagram summarises this architecture:

To find out more about interacting with Argument Web resources, please email info AT argumentinterchange DOT org

Jan 2013