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RDF Access to Structured Databases

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  • Background:
  • Suggested Approach:
    • Concepts:
      • The premise of reusing the data and information rather than changing the data systems themselves:
        • Putting the business and technical rules, logic, etc. into the data itself using markup languages.
      • The concepts and standards of the Semantic Web:
        • Also called the Data Web or Web 3.0.
      • The most important tenets of the reuse are:
        • Bring the data and the metadata back together.
        • Bring the structured and unstructured data and information back together.
        • Bring the data and information description and context back together.
    • Looking for partners to work with Federal Government and US EPA data and metadata sources.
    • Like to do for government data tables in Excel:
      • Free Tools - MindSwap Utility: The ConvertToRDF tool is designed to take plain-text delimited files, like .csv files dumped from Microsoft Excel, and convert them to RDF.
      • Commercial Tools - TopBraid Composer can lift models from other formats into OWL/RDFS. The system provides a wizard to automatically import relational databases so that they can be treated as virtual RDF graphs. Spreadsheets can be converted into classes and instances, and built-in refactorings can be used to further process the output from a single class into into multiple classes.
    • Like to do for a few selected government relational databases:
    • Like to do for lots of selected government relational databases:
      • Tried in 1999 without the benefit of RDF/OWL and newer technologies.
    • Government Data Sources:
      • Annual Statistical Abstract - most popular government data publication (about 40 chapters in PDF & 1500 data tables in Excel).
      • U.S. EPA Report on the Environment 2007:
        • Spent lots of time and money on peer review, production of comprehensive metadata, and electronic publication.
        • Specifically, EPA's 2007 Report on the Environment contains thorough documentation and standard metadata templates for the 86 indicators selected using six criteria based on EPA’s Information Quality Guidelinesand a Peer Review Process described in Appendix B of the report.
    • Basis for showing a New Enterprise Information Architecture and Data Management Strategy for the US EPA.
    • Want to use RDF and reason over this data and metadata.
    • The individual data tables with their elements and attributes were compiled into 5 multi-sheet spreadsheets, one for each of the 5 topics in the 2007 EPA Report on the Environment.
      • Question: Is this the right thing to tell people to do to get ready for RDF/OWL? Should we use a natural grouping of tables for semantic harmonization and semantic interoperability to better support reasoning applications?
    • Methods and Tools:
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