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Next, there is the application of the search results (5). After the tedious search process, the result is usually a presentation or paper report. Many times, this process of creating the report involves several people. The approval process is done by manual reviews and is slow. After this new product is created, the information may or may not be filed anywhere; it may be emailed into never-never land. If it is filed, perhaps it is filed onto a Web server that may or may
1 "Study Shows $750 Billion Waste of Time," http://www.knowledgeboard.com/cgi-bin/item.cgi?id=44235.
Crafting Your Company's Roadmap to the Semantic Web
not be indexed by one of your corporate search engines. Later, how do we know what version of the document we have? If this new document is integrated into one of our stovepiped corporate databases, there is no way to tell if the information has been superseded, which parts of the document are authoritative, and if the document has been approved by the organization. Lastly, there is information reuse—the ability months or years later to discover, refine, annotate, and incorporate past knowledge.
If any of these challenges seem at all familiar to you, you are ready for the Semantic Web. A smart company will leverage the Semantic Web technologies we have discussed in this book to craft an information architecture vision touching every part of the organization life cycle. We discuss this life cycle in the next section.
The Knowledge-Centric Organization: Where We Need to Be
A knowledge-centric organization will incorporate Semantic Web technologies into every part of the work life cycle, including production, presentation, analysis, dissemination, archiving, reuse, annotation, searches, and versioning. In this section we talk about how our knowledge process can be—in sharp contrast to the chaotic process of the previous section.
Discovery and Production
The discovery and production phase is where an individual receives information and would like to produce this as knowledge in his or her organization. This can be a repeatable process, as shown in Figure 9.3, and should be an integral part of your corporate workflow process. This is an area where organizations should be aggressive in capturing information, because the effectiveness of reuse will be directly proportional to the quantity and quality of information captured. When the individual gathers the information, he or she should perform due diligence to make certain that the information is valid. With any new piece of information, it is important that it is marked up with XML, using a relevant corporate schema. Once that is done, the individual should digitally sign the XML document using the XML Signature specification to provide strong assurance that the individual verified the validity of the information. The next step is the annotation process, where the individual may want to use RDF to annotate the new information with his or her notes or comments, adding to the XML document, but without breaking the digital signature seal of the original material. After this annotation is finished, the author should digitally sign the annotation with XML signature. Those RDF annotations are how you can make those connections to the corporate ontology and taxonomy.
Web Service with Corporate Ontology and Web Service Registry
Figure 9.3 The discovery and production process.
The next step is quite important. Before the information can be integrated into the system, the information must be mapped to topics in the taxonomy and entities in the corporate ontology so that pieces of the information can be compared to other pieces of information in your corporate knowledge base. For example, it is logical to ask the following questions: Who is the person that authored this document? What department does he or she work in? Is the individual an expert on this topic? Is this topic in our corporate taxonomy? As we've seen in Chapter 7, the taxonomy is ordinarily a partial projection of or mapping from the underlying ontology. Once this is done, it is time to store the information in an application with a Web service interface. If this is a new Web service, the Web service should be registered in the corporate registry, along with its taxonomic classifications.
The result of the discovery and production process is that the information coming into your organization is marked up with standard XML markup, the original data has been digitally signed to show assurance of trust, it has been
annotated with an author's comments, it has been mapped to your corporate ontology, and it has been published to a Web service and registered in a Web service registry. Because it has been marked up with XML, standard techniques and technologies can be used to store it and style its presentation. Because it is mapped to your corporate ontology, the new information can be associated and compared with other information in your organization. Because the original information is digitally signed, anyone looking at the information will have assurance of its validity. Because author annotations are added and also digitally signed, there is tracking of who found the information and their comments. Because it is stored in a Web service, any software program can communicate with it easily using open standards. Finally, because the Web service is registered in a registry, people and programs in your organization can discover your Web service based on its name or taxonomic classification.