Semantic Web Technology: 'Glue' for Data Integration

Loraine Lawson

When I read about the Semantic Web, it's generally described as having a preternatural ability to figure out exactly what you want to find on the Web.


As it turns out, semantic technology can also be used as "the best glue ever put into practice" when it comes to enterprise integration, contends Uche Ogbuji, a specialist in the integration of next-generation Web systems, in this Intranet Journal article. Ogbuji is a partner at Zepheira, a knowledge management company specializing in Semantic Web standards.


Ogbuji admits that Semantic Web technology "has suffered a lack of pragmatic focus," and, I would add, outright exaggeration. But where the technology really shines, at least at this stage of development, is when it's used with enterprise data architecture.


The article begins with a discussion of EDA's emergence as a discipline for organizing unstructured data. The problem with current integration efforts, according to Ogbuji, is that they usually involve a vendor of one sort of another, and the vendor generally hides the integration behind a black box solution controlled, naturally, by said vendor. Meanwhile, the Internet has nicely demonstrated it's possible to provide seamless integration without all the smoke and mirrors.


What's great about semantic EDA is that it can start in one department and grow organically, as opposed to requiring a major, enterprise-wide deployment.


The article focuses more on the broad implications of semantic EDA for integration, with little space given to how it works. However, he does promise he'll follow up with a piece on simple techniques you can use to get started in Semantic Web technology and EDA. I'll keep you posted.


While you're waiting, you might find these articles useful reading:


Web 2.0 Arrives to Find Web 3.0 Under Way: This InformationWeek article looks at Semantic Web technologies designed for enterprise use. It includes a discussion of how real-world organizations are using semantic technology, including the U.S. intelligence community - for identifying terrorists - and Eastman Kodak Company - for organizing digital images.


Taming the World Wide Web: Ignore the flippant BusinessWeek title. This three-page piece is full of real-world examples of how Semantic Web technologies could impact search online and in the enterprise. There's also a short discussion of how this could impact security and a longer, considerably less-useful discussion on whether the term "Semantic Web" was a good idea - but there are lots of subtitles in the article, so you'll know where to skip.


A Relational View of the Semantic Web: O'Reilly's XML.com offers a more technical piece, with an explanation of the W3C's proposed standard query language (SPARQL) for the Semantic Web.

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Sep 18, 2007 4:46 PM Scott Koegler Scott Koegler  says:
We are finding increasing use of semantic technology in business applications, as opposed to pure research and academic pursuits. And that's the point of our new publication at www.SemanticReport.com where you will find another article by Uche Ogbugi about "The Future of the Web..." Reply
Sep 28, 2007 8:12 AM Deepank Shah Deepank Shah  says:
Read Silicon Valley Entrepreneur & Strategy Consultant, Sramana Mitra's definition on Semantic Web and Web 3.0. Her synthesis explaining why the Semantic Web can only be implemented in a Contextual Domain. Link: http://sramanamitra.com/blog/1165 Related reading: http://sramanamitra.com/2007/09/14/web-30-peopleid-and-plaxo/ http://sramanamitra.com/2007/09/13/web-30-indexing-placeid-and-peopleid/ Reply
Jan 28, 2008 9:27 AM Steve Perry Steve Perry  says:
The Semantic Web is more than just theory for data integration/migration.The Jumper sourceforge project has delivered an open-standard meta-language for semantic integration. This specification delivers a semantic layer to glue propreitary schemas together for building crosswalks to automate data exchange.Open-source scripts are avialable to build JUMP models in your favorite modeling or cleansing tools. Reply
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Ideal in the world of nothing it is. So or differently it will be necessary constantly to finish off details! Reply

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