W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > public-semweb-lifesci@w3.org > March 2006

Re: Ontology editor + why RDF?

From: Wafik Farag <Wafik@Farag.net>
Date: Fri, 31 Mar 2006 13:24:17 -0500
Message-ID: <002901c654f0$54e64860$0300a8c0@WFB100>
To: "Kashyap, Vipul" <VKASHYAP1@PARTNERS.ORG>
Cc: "Jim Hendler" <hendler@cs.umd.edu>, <public-semweb-lifesci@w3.org>
I find this discussion very interesting.


[VK] Agreed, one of the clearer value propositions is data integration.

> Being able to use ontologies to infer new information is a massive
> plus (I imagine especially in the lifesciences). Bigger still are the
> (anticipated) benefits of the Semantic Web when the network effect
> kicks in. But the ability to use RDF to simply merge data from
> multiple sources consistently (and query across it), without needing
> complete up-front schema design is a very immediate, tangible gain.
> 

Hmm... it might not be clear to some but the difference between "merge" data or linking of data and "integrate" data is a big difference!
VK states that the clearer value proposition for SW is data integration, than later it is infered that RDF can simply "merge" data.   Merging and linking data IS not integrating data!!
 "Merging" data is like aggregating data without preserving the relations and meaning.  Say I have two chemical compounds X and Y and one is looking to find list of proteins affected by both.  Merging returns list of proteins affected, by X and lists affected by Y and sometimes listes affected by X and Y if someone had done the work before.  On the other hand, integration returns only lists of proteins affected by X and Y even if no one had done the work before.  
Integrating data has to ensure correctness of data being returned while merging leaves it upto the user to go and figure.  
Of course linking data workes great when only one option is available - single valued data items.  

In Jim's [JH] example of the airport distances on the web; linking of semenatics and data works because of data being linked are single valued items.  Integration is not necessary here because no multi-valued data items need to be integrated.  

Sementic web promises the power of linking semantics and the ability to introduce new semantics - so far I haven't heard the SW promise being extended to solving the data integration problem?  



Cheers
-Wafik 
SkyPrise, Inc. 

& Integration Consortium Boston Co-Chair 
Integration Consortium Executive committee 
www.integrationconsortium.org 
2006 Global Integration Summit May 22 - 24 in Boston! 
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Received on Friday, 31 March 2006 18:24:38 UTC

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