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Data Reuse Not Possible Without Ontological Work, Group Asserts


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Ontology Summit chairman Steve Ray says organizations need to develop an ontology to explain how different data elements interact and render this context in a computational form to enable external systems to make sense of a data model. The Ontology Summit was recently held at the headquarters of the National Institute for Standards and Technology. Ray says unstated assumptions, such as the belief that data models are enough to enable widespread system interoperability, are crippling.

The Ontology Summit working group recently released details on several projects that could demonstrate how ontologies could enable better interoperability. The working group wants standards bodies such as the World Wide Web Consortium and the Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information States to work ontological practices into their frameworks. Currently, data models in large systems are not documented in a machine-readable format, if they are even documented at all, which limits the simple or automatic reuse of data.

Ray acknowledges that the study of ontologies is abstract, and that the Ontology Summit includes members from a variety of noncomputer-oriented disciplines. This year's meeting focused on providing practical examples of how ontologies could be used in large IT systems, including applications in financial services, manufacturing, emergency response, geospatial, and the oil and gas industries.

From Government Computer News
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