Improving the usability of standard schemas

Zhang, Jiemin, Webster, April, Lawrence, Michael, Nepal, Madhav, Pottinger, Rachel, Staub-French, Sheryl, & Tory, Melanie (2011) Improving the usability of standard schemas. Information Systems, 36(2), pp. 209-221.

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Due to the development of XML and other data models such as OWL and RDF, sharing data is an increasingly common task since these data models allow simple syntactic translation of data between applications. However, in order for data to be shared semantically, there must be a way to ensure that concepts are the same. One approach is to employ commonly usedschemas—called standard schemas —which help guarantee that syntactically identical objects have semantically similar meanings. As a result of the spread of data sharing, there has been widespread adoption of standard schemas in a broad range of disciplines and for a wide variety of applications within a very short period of time. However, standard schemas are still in their infancy and have not yet matured or been thoroughly evaluated. It is imperative that the data management research community takes a closer look at how well these standard schemas have fared in real-world applications to identify not only their advantages, but also the operational challenges that real users face.

In this paper, we both examine the usability of standard schemas in a comparison that spans multiple disciplines, and describe our first step at resolving some of these issues in our Semantic Modeling System. We evaluate our Semantic Modeling System through a careful case study of the use of standard schemas in architecture, engineering, and construction, which we conducted with domain experts. We discuss how our Semantic Modeling System can help the broader problem and also discuss a number of challenges that still remain.

Impact and interest:

8 citations in Scopus
7 citations in Web of Science®
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ID Code: 58415
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
DOI: 10.1016/
ISSN: 0306-4379
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > INFORMATION AND COMPUTING SCIENCES (080000) > DATA FORMAT (080400) > Data Structures (080403)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > INFORMATION AND COMPUTING SCIENCES (080000) > DATA FORMAT (080400) > Markup Languages (080404)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > INFORMATION AND COMPUTING SCIENCES (080000) > INFORMATION SYSTEMS (080600) > Database Management (080604)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > INFORMATION AND COMPUTING SCIENCES (080000) > LIBRARY AND INFORMATION STUDIES (080700) > Information Retrieval and Web Search (080704)
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Science & Engineering Faculty
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2011 Elsevier
Copyright Statement: This is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in Information Systems. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published in Information Systems, [VOL 36, ISSUE 2, (2011)] DOI: 10.1016/
Deposited On: 18 Mar 2013 23:28
Last Modified: 21 Jul 2017 19:11

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