Tuesday, May 15, 2007

imho Ocean Semantic...


Scoping for my upcoming BCR article on Semantic Web, per the proposal I just floated last night to Eric and Sandy:

· Semantic Web is an industry initiative to expand end-to-end, standards-based semantic interoperability throughout SOA environments.

· The concept of a Semantic Web takes the notion of the World Wide Web (WWW) a step further:

o Essentially, the WWW treats the Internet as an open book that—through common interoperability standards such as DNS, IP, HTTP, HTML, and XML—makes content everywhere readable, searchable, and comprehensible to human consumers.

o The Semantic Web extends that concept to non-human consumers, so that the meaning, context, structure, operations, reference, use, goal state, implied processing, relationships, scope, and purpose of any entity, especially content, can—through XML-based interoperability standards such as RDF and OWL--be everywhere unambiguously readable, searchable, comprehensible, and actionable to services, applications, bots, and machines, and also, via that machine-mediated abstract virtualization layer, to human beings.

· In theory, the concept of the Semantic Web can be interpreted either very broadly or very narrowly:

o God’s eye view: as a supermagical identification, metadata, description, representation, and policy layer that enables universal, automatic, comprehensive end-to-end interoperability across every macro or micro entity on every imaginable level.

o Worm’s eye view: as standardized XML-based schemas that define how content can be tagged with self-describing metadata in accordance with controlled, domain-specific, agreed-upon semantic vocabularies known as “ontologies.”

· In practice, Semantic Web techniques can potentially be applied in the following areas:

o Enterprise content management (ECM): enable more powerful/flexible content discovery, indexing, search, classification, cataloging, aggregation, correlation, navigation, mapping, transformation, and management across federated domains

o Enterprise service bus (ESB): enable speedier, automatic, policy-driven, multilayered application, process, and service interoperability across federated domains

o Enterprise information integration (EII): support virtualized, composite, unified viewing, query, and update of disparate data that has been retrieved from heterogeneous sources across federated domains

· So far, there is considerable academic discussion of Semantic Web concepts, and standards definition at the W3C, but surprisingly little commercial implementation of such Semantic Web specifications as RDF and OWL in the ECM, ESB, and EII markets.

However, there is a growing emphasis on and implementation of heterogeneous semantic interoperability—considered broadly—in all of these markets. To some extent, the so-called Semantic Web standards and initiative are only one piece of a much larger puzzle that is coming together in a environment that should more properly be called “Semantic SOA.”

So you can sort of see where I'm going with "federation" re "ontologies." But I still need to flesh that out.

More to come.