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Start Making Sense: Get From Data To Semantic Integration

In Start Making Sense: Get From Data To Semantic Integration, author Neil Raden (founder and president of consulting firm Hired Brains) makes the following points:

What if we had a different kind of metadata that would let more users go further on their own with BI [Business Intelligence] and productive data analysis? Semantic integration technology, also known as "ontology," is the next step in rationalizing information integration in and beyond organizations. Semantic integration is the application of Semantic Web concepts developed by Tim Berners-Lee, director of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C). Berners-Lee and the W3C define the Semantic Web as a framework that "allows data to be shared and reused across application, enterprise and community boundaries." Semantic integration raises the level of abstraction so people and systems can focus on meaning and relationships.


A rich semantic ontology can serve as the abstraction layer, not just between BI tools and the data warehouse, but between everything. For an enterprise, semantic integration can become the orchestration point, resource broker and domain adviser. Physical location and data structures become irrelevant; data stewards are free to tune and modify their resources as they see fit. Operational and analytic processes are freed of the burden of tracking data.

With composite application development based on service-oriented architecture (SOA) on the rise, consider one last critical reason to do something about semantic integration. The composite idea is to assemble and reassemble, in something close to real time, applications based on business needs from standards-based services. In other words, we'll be relying on machines to make inferences about information because there won't be time to program everything.

Also see the companion article, Content: The Other Half of the Integration Problem.

Semantic mediation using ontologies is what I now do for a living. Chronos is just my hobby. I see ontolgoy-based semantic mediation as a paradigm shift that is even more important than OOP (and may I remind you that I started in Smalltalk in 1985.) The time to get on board is now.

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