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SEMANTIC RECOMMENDER SYSTEM FOR MALAYSIAN

TOURISM INDUSTRY

TIRAD MOHAMMED AREF ALMALAHMEH

FACULTY OF COMPUTER SCIENCE AND INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY

UNIVERSITY OF MALAYA KUALA LUMPUR

2014

SEMANTIC RECOMMENDER SYSTEM FOR MALAYSIAN

TOURISM INDUSTRY

TIRAD MOHAMMED AREF ALMALAHMEH

THESIS SUBMITTED IN FULFILMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS

FOR THE DEGREE OF DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY

FACULTY OF COMPUTER SCIENCE AND INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY

UNIVERSITY OF MALAYA KUALA LUMPUR

2014

UNIVERSITI MALAYA ORIGINAL LITERARY WORK DECLARATION

Name of Candidate: TIRAD MOHAMMED AREF (I.C/Passport No: J098196) ALMALAHMEH Registration/Matric No: WHA080006 Name of Degree: DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY Title of Project Paper/Research Report/Dissertation/Thesis (this Work): SEMANTIC RECOMMENDER SYSTEM FOR MALAYSIAN TOURISM INDUSTRY Field of Study: INFORMATION RETRIEVAL AND SEMANTIC TECHNOLOGY

I do solemnly and sincerely declare that: (1) I am the sole author/writer of this Work; (2) This Work is original; (3) Any use of any work in which copyright exists was done by way of fair dealing and

for permitted purposes and any excerpt or extract from, or reference to or reproduction of any copyright work has been disclosed expressly and sufficiently and the title of the Work and its authorship have been acknowledged in this Work;

(4) I do not have any actual knowledge nor do I ought reasonably to know that the making of this work constitutes an infringement of any copyright work;

(5) I hereby assign all and every rights in the copyright to this Work to the University of Malaya (UM), who henceforth shall be owner of the copyright in this Work and that any reproduction or use in any form or by any means whatsoever is prohibited without the written consent of UM having been first had and obtained;

(6) I am fully aware that if in the course of making this Work I have infringed any copyright whether intentionally or otherwise, I may be subject to legal action or any other action as may be determined by UM.

Candidates Signature Date: Mar 2014 Subscribed and solemnly declared before, Witnesss Signature Date: Mar 2014 Name: Assoc. Prof. Dr. Sameem Abdul Kareem Designation: Supervisor

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To My Family

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ABSTRACT

Semantic Malaysian Tourism Recommender System (SMTRS) adopts the natural

language interface, recommender system and semantic technology to analyse users

query and provide answers from the Malaysian tourism domain based on the tourists

preferences. Tourists usually search for information through different search engines.

However, as found by various researchers the retrieved answers have two main

problems: overloaded and not-related answers. A Recommender System (RS) is one

application that can provide personalized information, with the optimal goal of

providing personalized information recommendation in order to customize the World

Wide Web (WWW). Regular RS users query the system by choosing from a fixed set of

attributes represented by option sets or dropdown lists. Menu-driven navigation and

keyword search currently provided by most commercial sites have considerable

limitations because they tend to overwhelm and frustrate users with lengthy, rigid, and

ineffective interactions. This research proposes incorporating semantic technology with

a recommender system to deliver information that is more related to the tourists

interests. At the same time a User-friendly Natural Language Interface is also included

to assure convenient query access to the Semantic Web data, where the Natural

Language Interfaces are perceived as the most acceptable by end-users. The approach

results in a prototype with an architecture consisting of a Content-based Recommender

System, Semantic Technology, ontology engineering in the Malaysian Tourism domain,

and Natural Language Interface. This research found, users are satisfied with the

proposed services giving it an excellent rating based on the System Usability Scale

(SUS) acceptability score.

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ABSTRAK

Sistem Penentu Semantik Pelancongan Malaysia (SMTRS) menerima pakai antara

muka bahasa tabii, sistem penentu dan teknologi semantik untuk menganalisis

pertanyaan pengguna dan menyediakan jawapan daripada domain pelancongan

Malaysia berdasarkan pilihan pelancong. Para pelancong biasanya mencari maklumat

melalui enjin carian yang berlainan. Namun, menurut pelbagai penyelidik, jawapan-

jawapan yang didapati mempunyai dua masalah utama: jawapan sarat dan yang tidak

berkaitan. Sistem Penentu (RS) adalah satu aplikasi yang boleh memberikan maklumat

peribadi, dengan matlamat optimum bagi memberikan cadangan maklumat peribadi

mengikut persanan Jaringan Sejagat (WWW).

Para pengguna tetap RS mengemukakan pertanyaan melalui sistem ini dengan membuat

pilihan daripada satu set tetap ciri-ciri yang diwakili oleh set-set pilihan atau senarai

jatuh bawah. Navigasi menggunakan menu dan carian kata kunci yang disediakan oleh

kebanyakan laman web komersial mempunyai batasan yang besar kerana mereka lebih

cenderung untuk membanjiri dan mengecewakan para pengguna dengan interaksi yang

panjang, tegar dan tidak berkesan. Kajian ini mencadangkan penggabungan teknologi

semantik dengan sistem penentu bagi menyampaikan maklumat yang lebih relevan

dengan kehendak para pelancong.

Pada masa yang sama, suatu Antara Muka Bahasa Tabii yang Mesra Pengguna juga

dimasukkan bagi memastikan akses pertanyaan yang mudah kepada data Web

Semantik, di mana Antara Muka Bahasa Tabii dianggap sebagai paling boleh terima

oleh pengguna akhir. Pendekatan ini menghasilkan satu prototaip dengan seni bina yang

terdiri daripada satu Sistem Penentu Berasaskan Kandungan, Teknologi Semantik,

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kejuruteraan ontologi dalam domain Pelancongan Malaysia, dan Antara Muka Bahasa

Tabii.

Kajian ini mendapati bahawa para pengguna berpuas hati dengan perkhidmatan yang

dicadangkan, memberikannya penarafan yang cemerlang berdasarkan skor

kebolehterimaan Skala Sistem Kebolehgunaan (SUS).

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ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

First and foremost, I would like to thank the Creator of the Universe, Most Gracious and

Most Merciful, without whose Will, it would not have been possible for me to fulfill my

wish of completing this PhD.

I would like to express my deepest and sincere gratitude to my supervisor, Assoc. Prof. Dr.

Sameem Abdul Kareem for her immeasurable wisdom, guidance, patience, valuable

suggestions and supervision. Also, special thanks to my friend, Dr. Mansoor Abdullateef

for his helpful suggestions and constructive criticisms of this thesis. For this, I will never be

grateful enough.

I have no words to express my heartfelt gratitude to my beloved parents, Mohammed and

Suzan; and my brothers Rabee and Basel, and sisters Reem and Aseel for their

unconditional love, continuous support and trust in me. Also this PhD would never have

happened without my lovely wife Faten Maali and my two brilliant children Bashar and

Malak, it is a privilege to have all of you as mine, thanks for your support and contributions

to the success of this endeavour during all these years, God keep you all for me.

Finally, I would like to thank all the staff at the Faculty of Computer Science and

Information Technology for their cooperation and a kind treatment throughout my study. I

would also like to thank all my friends and colleagues, for their encouragement,

cooperation and help. I learnt a great deal from each of you.

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TABLE OF CONTENTS

Page

ABSTRACT iii

ABSTRAK iv

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS vi

TABLE OF CONTENT vii

LIST OF FIGURES x

LIST OF TABLES xi

LIST OF ABBREVATIONS xii

1.0 Introduction 1

1.1 Motivation 3

1.2 Research Problem 3

1.3 Research Objectives 8

1.4 Context and Scope 10

1.5 Methodology 13

1.6 Research Questions 16

1.7 Thesis Overview 16

2.0 Literature Review 18

2.1 ICT and the Tourism Industry 18

2.1.1 Tourism Industry Features 18

2.1.2 The role of ICT in Tourism Development 21

2.1.3 Tourism as an Information Based Business 23

2.1.4 Challenges of ICT in Tourism 26

2.2 Recommender System in Tourism Domain 31

2.2.1 Recommender System 31

2.2.2 Personalizing Recommendations for Tourists 32

2.2.3 Recommender System Techniques 33

2.2.4 Selection of Recommender System Techniques 36

2.2.5 Drawbacks of Existing Content-based RS in 39

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Tourism Domain

2.3 Semantic Web Technology 41

2.3.1 Metadata 44

2.3.2 Resource Description Framework (RDF) 46

2.3.3 Semantic Modelling and Development 48

2.3.4 Ontology Query Languages, Reasoning and

Tools

49

2.3.5 Example of Ontologies in th