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Info Systems Must 'connect the Dots' on Terrorism


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Allocating additional personnel alone cannot address the lapses in the U.S. intelligence community, when what also is needed are state-of-the-art information technologies that enhance human capabilities to "connect the dots," write University of Maryland researcher Aaron Mannes and Rensselaer Polytechnic University professor James Hendler. "The most commonly reported weakness in the information systems used in the intelligence community is that analysts have to search multiple databases to access all available information and that they cannot integrate the data they find from their searches," the authors note.

Mannes and Hendler report that improvements in intelligence sharing since 9/11 have been nullified by the flood of data caused by increased collection capabilities. They contend that an effective system not only helps intelligence analysts find information, but also helps them establish links. A great aid in this effort would be information systems capable of drawing basic conclusions, and the Semantic Web is one such tool.

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