Towards Enterprise-Scale Ontology Management

Increasingly, ontology languages are being used to externalize meta-data about data, software and services in a declarative form that can be used for purposes ranging from search and retrieval to composition and lifecyle management. The use of such externalized descriptions could significantly reduce the costs of deploying, integrating and maintaining enterprise scale systems. The barrier to more wide spread use of ontologies for storing meta-information is the lack of support in the currently available middle-ware stacks used in business applications. In this paper, we describe work on developing an enterprise-scale ontology management system that will provide the reliability, scalability and performance that enterprise uses demand. In addition, to be successful, such a system will need to fit well into the current software development environment and reduce rather than increase the burden on software architects, programmers and administrators. To accomplish this, we are synthesizing concepts familiar to software developers with ideas from the semantic web and ontology communities. In this paper, we describe the design and implementation of the system that programmatically supports the ontology needs of applications in a similar way a database management system supports the data needs of applications. For programmers, the system provides a Java API, Java Ontology Base Connector (JOBC), which is the ontological equivalent of the Java Data Base Connector (JDBC). JOBC provides a simple-to- use but powerful mechanism for application programmers to utilize ontologies without dealing with the details of ontological information. In addition, the ontology management system will support a number of query languages, and currently, we are exploring a variant of DAML Query Language (DQL) as our ontological equivalent of SQL (Structured Query Language). To satisfy the needs for application deployment in a variety of configurations, the ontology management system will support a range of configurations from lightweight thin-client deployments to an enterprise-scale federated server deployments.

By: Juhnyoung Lee, Richard T. Goodwin, Rama K. Akkiraju, Yiming Ye

Published in: RC22744 in 2003


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