Interoperability and metadata
ROADS is working in a context where interoperability is becoming increasingly important as a means to integrate the wide range of information services available in today's distributed environment. Users require distributed information services to interwork in terms of search, location and delivery. The particular requirements of individual users will be varied, it is likely that provision of a variety of views onto the 'information landscape' will be required.
Within ROADS we are concerned chiefly with searching and the metadata and indexing on which searching is based. The ROADS project is investigating means by which the ROADS software can be enhanced to enable integration with other search services.
Levels of interoperability
Interoperability can be addressed at several levels, those levels with which the service provider and user are are particularly concerned might include the following (we do not refer to system architecture, CORBA, middleware etc):
Which services to search?
The user needs to navigate the 'interoperable workspace' available to them. There are various activities underway that will contribute to selection of relevant databases:
Users will be searching a variety of indexes constructed from a number of different underlying database structures. Effective searching across services requires that semantically equivalent fields in these indexes are mapped to each other. In addition semantics in the search (client) must be managed so that they match the semantics in the indexes (targets). Activity in this area includes: