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JCSE, vol. 2, no. 1, pp.44-73, March, 2008


Discovering and Maintaining Semantic Mappings between XML Schemas and Ontologies

Yuan An Alex Borgida John Mylopoulos
Drexel University, USA|Rutgers University, USA|University of Toronto, Canada

Abstract: There is general agreement that the problem of data semantics has to be addressed for XMLdata to become machine-processable. This problem can be tackled by defining a semanticmapping between an XML schema and an ontology. Unfortunately, creating such mappings isa tedious, time-consuming, and error-prone task. To alleviate this problem, we present asolution that heuristically discovers semantic mappings between XML schemas and ontologies.The solution takes as input an initial set of simple correspondences between element attributesin an XML schema and class attributes in an ontology, and then generates a set of mappingformulas. Once such a mapping is created, it is important and necessary to maintain theconsistency of the mapping when the associated XML schema and ontology evolve. In thispaper, we first offer a mapping formalism to represent semantic mappings. Second, we presentour heuristic mapping discovery algorithm. Third, we show through an empirical study thatconsiderable effort can be saved when discovering complex mappings by using our prototypetool. Finally, we propose a mapping maintenance plan dealing with schema evolution. Ourstudy provides a set of effective solutions for building sustainable semantic integration systemsfor XML data.

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