Special Issue of the International Journal of Electronic Commerce (IJEC)

Semantic Web Services and Their Role in Enterprise Application
Integration and E-Commerce

Special Issue of the International Journal of Electronic Commerce (IJEC)


Christoph Bussler, Oracle Corporation
Dieter Fensel, Leopold Franzens Universitšt Innsbruck
Norman Sadeh, Carnegie Mellon University


This special issue of the International Journal of Electronic Commerce
(IJEC) focuses on the proposed intersection of three domains that have
very recently started drawing enormous attention throughout academia and
industry and is of utmost importance as well as relevance for computer
science and the business world:

- Web Service Technology (manifested through SOAP, WSDL and UDDI)
- Semantic Web Technology (manifested through ontology languages) and 
- Enterprise Integration (manifested through Enterprise Application
Integration (EAI) and E-Commerce in form of Business-to-Business (B2B)
Integration as well as Business-to-Consumer (B2C)).

The promise is that Web Service Technology in conjunction with Semantic
Web Technology ('Semantic Web Services') will make Enterprise
Integration dynamically possible for all types and sizes of enterprises
compared to the 'traditional' technologies, such as Electronic Data
Interchange (EDI) or Value Added Networks (VANs). In addition,
Enterprise Integration will become more reliable as well as easier to
achieve without the low-level implementation problems that can be
observed in today's approaches.

Because these strong promises are made a series of questions arises: to
what extent are these different technologies already integrated today?
How does the combination of those technologies look like? How does this
combination make the Enterprise Integration problem easier to solve and
the solution more reliable?

'Traditional' technologies exist (in some cases for over 30 years) and
significant progress has been made over time due to the lessons learned
in the real world and sometimes in large scale deployments. Today, the
major problems of Enterprise Integration in EAI and E-Commerce are:

- Semantic Unification. Data exchanged between application systems or
trading partners (endpoints) are defined based on different schemas.
When data are exchanged in the form of messages, a data mediation
problem arises that requires resolution. A minor and related issue is
that different application systems or trading partners use different
forms of syntax, too, in addition to different schemas for messages.
Even if endpoints describe their data in the form of ontologies, the
semantic unification problem remains to be solved.

- Message Behavior. Different endpoints expect specific messages in a
specific order and with specific sequencing. Communicating endpoints
have to guarantee and to enforce the exchange behavior as agreed to
establish interoperability.

- Endpoint Discovery. The manual establishing of trading relationships
is considered error prone, slow and inflexible. Discovery mechanisms are
put in place (for example in the form of UDDI) that promise to make the
automatic discovery process easier and more reliable.

- Message Security and Trust Relationships. Communicating endpoints
require assurance of message confidentiality and non-repudiation.
Various security schemes are being developed that attempt to address
these requirements. Furthermore, endpoints need to establish sufficient
trust to engage in a trading relationship.

- Process Management. Supply-chain processes are very complex and highly
dynamic. Attempts have been made to enable dynamic supply-chain
reconfiguration with agent technology and dynamic workflow technology. A
large body of work exists that has not yet found its way into industry
and real applications.

- Integration Standards. A mind-boggling number of standards exists in
the area of Enterprise Integration.  All of these have to be dealt with
to some extent by the various enterprises.

- Legacy Application Connectivity. Most data that are communicated are
managed by existing application systems that are not necessarily
designed to be integrated. Adapter technology exists that allows to
connect easily to application systems.

Traditional technologies are able to address all these major problems
today. They can implement Enterprise Integration predictably and
reliably. However, new technologies like Web Services Technology in
combination with Semantic Web Technology have (or have not?) the
potential to address these requirements much better.

The special issue on 'Semantic Web Services and their Role in Enterprise
Application Integration and E-Commerce' seeks contributions that address
the Enterprise Integration problems with the new technologies. Articles
are sought that address specifically the intersection of Web Service
Technology, Semantic Web Technology and Enterprise Integration. It is
the goal to show the relevance and applicability of the new integration
technologies in that they provide a 'better' solution to
well-understood problems in the EAI and E-Commerce space. Contributions
are encouraged to make a very good and well-founded case for the new
technologies based on rigorous and solid arguments. However,
contributions that are critical in nature based on a solid
argumentation and also state the deficiencies that have to be overcome
are equally welcome.

Articles that 're-wrap' or 're-sell' existing work or achieved results
with the new technologies are not considered relevant for the special
issue. Abstract articles that provide conceptual models or architectures
without clearly proving their applicability to real-world problems and
in real-world situations are not the focus of the special issue, either.
Articles that focus only on a small subset of the problems or
requirements of Enterprise Integration are not sought; these are
typically targeted toward scientific conferences.


- Submission date: May 31st, 2003
- Acceptance notification: September 30th, 2003

Submission Instructions

- Please submit articles for this special issue following the formatting
instructions below on or before the submission date to Christoph
Bussler at ChBussler@aol.com (and not to the IJEC Editor-in-chief
Vladimir Zwass as the IJEC web site requires).

- The formatting instructions for submissions can be found at the IJEC
web site http://www.gvsu.edu/ssb/ijec/ following the link "Submissions".

Christoph Bussler
Oracle Corporation
500 Oracle Parkway
Redwood Shores, CA 94065, USA

Received on Friday, 25 April 2003 12:34:01 UTC