Humans, semantic services and similarity: A user study of semantic Web services matching and composition

Eran Toch, Iris Reinhartz-Berger, Dov Dori

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Inferring similarity between Web services is a fundamental construct for service matching and composition. However, there is little evidence of how humans perceive similarity between services, a crucial knowledge for designing usable and practical service matching and composition algorithms. In this study we have experimented with 127 users to define and evaluate a model for service similarity in the context of semantic Web services. Our findings show that humans take a complex and sophisticated approach towards service similarity, which is more fine-grained than suggested by theoretical models of service similarity, such as logic-based approaches. We define a similarity model, based on our empirical findings and prove that the similarity model, expressed by a distance metric, is complete and that it closely predicts humans' perceptions of service similarity. Finally, we describe an application of a Web service search engine that implements our model.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)16-28
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Web Semantics
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2011

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors gratefully acknowledge the contribution of the Israel Ministry of Science for the Eshkol grant.


  • Approximation
  • Semantic Web services
  • Similarity
  • User study

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software
  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Computer Networks and Communications


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