Supporting Ontology-based Dynamic Property and Classification in WebSphere Metadata Server

author: Shengping Liu, IBM China Research Laboratory
published: Nov. 24, 2008,   recorded: October 2008,   views: 2899


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Metadata management is an important aspect of today’s enterprise information systems. Metadata management systems are growing from toolspecific repositories to enterprise-wide metadata repositories. In this context, one challenge is the management of the evolving metadata whose schema or meta-model itself may evolve, e.g., dynamically-added properties, which are often hard to predict upfront at the initial meta-model design time; another challenge is to organize the metadata by semantically-rich classification schemes. In this paper, we present a practical system which provides support for users to dynamically manage semantically-rich properties and classifications in the IBM WebSphere Metadata Server (MDS) by integrating an OWL ontology repository. To enable the smooth acceptance of Semantic Web technologies for developers of commercial software which must run 24 hours/day, 7 days/week, the system is designed to consist of integrated modeling paradigms, with an integrated query language and runtime repository. Specifically, we propose the modeling of dynamic properties on structured metadata as OWL properties and the modeling of classification schemes as OWL ontologies for metadata classification. We present a natural extension to OQL (Object Query Language)-like query language to embrace dynamic properties and metadata classification. We also observe that hybrid storage, i.e., horizontal tables for structured metadata and vertical triple tables for dynamic properties and classification, is suitable for the storage and query processing of co-existing structured metadata and semantic metadata. We believe that our study and experience are not specific to MDS, but are valuable for the community trying to apply Semantic Web technologies to the structured data management area.

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