Semantic Context for Object Exchange

Leo Obrst, Gregory Whittaker, and Alex Meng

Enterprise wide interoperability means distributed computing on heterogeneous hardware using heterogeneous implementation languages. Successful information exchange between interoperating systems today depends on data standardization. There are several problems, however, with this approach. This paper looks at some essential ingredients for a more complete notion of semantic interoperability. Semantic interoperability is defined as the enablement of software systems, and in particular, object-based systems, to interoperate at a level in which the exchange of information is at the enterprise level. This means each system (or object of a system) can map from its own conceptual model to the conceptual model of other systems, thereby ensuring that the meaning of their information is transmitted, accepted, understood, and used across the enterprise. We argue that the primary way by which semantic interoperability can be realized is by defining a notion of context which includes the object to be exchanged and its internal state, its interpretation with respect to both the source and the target system object models, and the particular use of and intent for the object in both the source and target systems.

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