Controlled vocabularies in OODBs: Modeling issues and implementation

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A major problem that arises in many large application domains is the discrepancy among terminologies of different information systems. The terms used by the information systems of one organization may not agree with the terms used by another organization even when they are in the same domain. Such a situation clearly impedes communication and the sharing of information, and decreases the efficiency of doing business. Problems of this nature can be overcome using a controlled vocabulary (CV), a system of concepts that consolidates and unifies the terminologies of a domain. However, CVs are large and complex and difficult to comprehend. This paper presents a methodology for representing a semantic network-based CV as an object-oriented database (OODB). We call such a representation an Object-Oriented Vocabulary Repository (OOVR). The methodology is based on a structural analysis and partitioning of the source CV. The representation of a CV as an OOVR offers both the level of support typical of database management systems and an abstract view which promotes comprehension of the CV's structure and content. After discussing the theoretical aspects of the methodology, we apply it to the MED and InterMED, two existing CVs from the medical field. A program, called the OOVR Generator, for automatically carrying out our methodology is described. Both the MED-OOVR and the InterMED-OOVR have been created using the OOVR Generator, and each exists on top of ONTOS, a commercial OODBMS. The OOVR derived from the InterMED is presently available on the Web.

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Distributed and Parallel Databases

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