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Thursday, March 6, 2008

W3C RDB2RDF Incubator Group to Study Mapping Relational Data into RDF

W3C has announced the creation of a new RDB2RDF Incubator Group sponsored
by Oracle, HP, PartnersHealthcare, and OpenLink Software. The RDB2RDF
Incubator Group, part of the Incubator Activity, has two chartered
initiatives. The first is to examine and classify existing approaches
to mapping relational data into RDF, and decide whether standardization
is possible and/or necessary in this area and, if so, the direction such
standardization could take. The goal is to specify how to generate RDF
triples from one or more Relational tables without loss of information.
Furher, a default mapping should not be used, but, instead, it should
be possible for the the mapping to be customized by the user. The second
initiative is to examine and classify existing approaches to mapping OWL
classes to Relational data, or, more accurately, SQL queries, moving
towards the goal of defining a standard in this area. Each OWL class
would be associated with one or more SQL queries which may be run on
separate databases. The results from these queries would then be
integrated into a single Relational table; this would be transformed into
RDF using the approach defined as a result of the first initiative. An
important problem to be solved is the mapping of RDB names to RDF/XML
names. The RDB2RDF Incubator Group is chartered through February 2009,
with Ashok Malhotra (Oracle) serving as XG Chair. Existing work in this
area included, for example: Virtuoso, D2RQ, SquirrelRDF, and ongoing
investigations at the University of Texas at Austin. Several approaches
are documented in the Collection of Accepted Papers from the "W3C Workshop
on RDF Access to Relational Databases," held October 25-26, 2007. This
work is expected to be used as a starting point for the Incubator Group.

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