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the semantic web a gide to the future of XML, Web Services and Knowledge Management - Daconta M,C.

Daconta M,C. the semantic web a gide to the future of XML, Web Services and Knowledge Management - Wiley publishing , 2003. - 304 p.
ISBN 0-471-43257-1
Download (direct link): thesemanticwebguideto2003.pdf
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“We are drowning in information, and starved for knowledge."
—John Naisbitt, MegaTrends, Warner Books, 1982
In this book, we have given you a strategic view and understanding of the Semantic Web, XML, Web services, RDF, taxonomies, and ontologies. Each of these technologies can (and some do) have entire books dedicated to them that delve into the technical details. In Chapter 2, we provided you with practical examples of how Semantic Web technologies can be used in your organization. It is the purpose of this chapter to show you how you can steer your company to take advantage of these technologies now so that you can begin reaping the rewards of the Semantic Web today and prepare your organization for the future. This chapter focuses on three areas: diagnosing the problems of information management, providing an architectural vision for your company, and showing you how to get there.
The Typical Organization: Overwhelmed with Information
The most significant problem today for the typical organization is that information management is haphazard. One problem is the sheer volume of information coming in—from a wide variety of information sources. Complicating
the problem are the various formats of the data (paper, email, and a wide variety of multiple electronic media formats). Because of the magnitude of the information coming in from various sources, it is difficult to manage. The typical organization is composed of people like the one shown in Figure 9.1—overwhelmed with information. Combined with the lack of a cohesive information-management vision, the typical organization has lots of information, but little knowledge.
Figure 9.2 shows the typical knowledge process in an organization. The capture process is the first stage in information management. First, a human being in the organization takes information from somewhere (newspaper, radio, Internet, database, phone call, customer contact, email) and brings it to the organization in some way (1). Many times, this is where the process stops. The individual may simply bring it to the organization vocally—by mentioning the information to someone. The individual may send it via email to someone, where it is lost in the plethora of emails that overwhelm the organization. If the data isn't lost in this way, the individual writes a paper or presentation, or writes a status report.
Chapter 9
Figure 9.1 Our own information management challenges.
Crafting Your Company's Roadmap to the Semantic Web
The second stage, if it gets that far, is production (2), where the data is put into a database, recorded to a digital file, or indexed into a search engine. Entering information is always the first step, but the problem is that each division, group, or project in the company enters the information into different systems. Assuming that there is only one database per project, and assuming a division has 10 projects, there may be 10 different software systems containing data in
Chapter 9
a division. In a company with four divisions, there are now 40 different software systems containing information. Now add a financial database with your invoices, bills, and collections information to that total. Finally, add your corporate human resources database (assuming there is only one). You now have many data sources that are individual stovepipes in your organization. Stovepipe systems perform a specific task at the expense of trapping the data and robbing the organization of business agility in adapting to new situations.
The third stage of the process may or may not be integration (3), depending on the complexity of your information architecture. Because all of your information systems are stovepiped, there is usually no good way to combine the integrated systems into a coherent picture. That is, any attempt to combine this information in any way is a tedious process, involving data conversions, incompatible software systems, and frustrated systems integrators. There is no repeatable process for integrating the systems, because each database and software system is designed differently and has different interfaces to talk to them. Add to that the complexity of different programming languages used to communicate with each software system, different operating systems and hardware platforms. As a result, there is usually little or no integration of these databases, because it is prohibitively difficult and expensive. When there is an integration solution, organizations usually pay a systems integrator big money to create a very expensive stovepiped system that integrates with your other systems.
The fourth stage of the process is searching—"discovery" of your corporation's internal resources (4). This is haphazard and time-consuming, because it involves so many different systems. You may have to log in to 40 databases and search engines, and manually compare and contrast the information you find into a big picture or coherent thought. Even the results from search engines are usually based on keywords and boolean logic, providing the searcher with results that may or may not be relevant. This is the most wasteful part of the process in person-hours. A study conducted by A. T. Kearney, a subsidiary of EDS, concluded that "lack of efficient publishing capabilities for digital content costs organizations $750 billion annually, as knowledge workers waste time seeking information necessary for them to do their jobs."1
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