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Subject: FW: Network World - UDEF, a Dewey Decimal System for business XML harmonization


> Why/how enterprises can harmonize their diverse web apps data
> vocabularies using UDEF developed by Aerospace Industry Association
> eBusiness Committee. 
> _______________________________________________________________
> Today's focus:  UDEF, a Dewey Decimal System for business XML
> By Mark Gibbs
> When XML first appeared seemingly everyone who was anyone was
> prognosticating that finally we would have completely effective,
> painless data exchange. Alas, this turned out to be simply
> feverish dreams possibly brought on by the irrational exuberance
> of the Internet bubble.
> Reality proved to be somewhat different: XML became balkanized
> into dialects, one for each purpose and each assigned different
> names with often different meanings to each entity they were
> describing. This was a big problem.
> Thus, in purchase orders - something that one would think
> unlikely to have very many ways of saying the same things - the
> names of fields are disjointed. For example, under the XML
> Common Business Library (xCBL) the price of an item is quite
> understandably called "UnitPriceValue" while under the schema
> from the Open Applications Group the same thing is called
> So if you and I are using different schemas and we want to
> intercommunicate we are reduced to hiring a data architect and a
> programmer to create some kind of translation mechanism.
> But there is a better way: The Universal Data Element Framework
> (UDEF) is a cross-industry metadata identification strategy. The
> intention is to provide a means of real-time identification for
> semantic equivalency, as an attribute to data elements within
> >e-business document and integration formats.
> To put that another way, UDEF aims to be the Dewey Decimal
> system for structured business-to-business messaging. You can
> think of UDEF as replacing the many-to-many links between
> businesses exchanging data with conceptually a single semantic
> hub that provides common ground.
> A note on OASIS Cover Pages (an online resource for markup
> language technologies) outlines UDEF as addressing a "problem
> [that] has been labeled 'semantic dispersion,' the dilution of
> shared meaning due to [the] proliferation of synonyms and
> homonyms."
> The note goes on to say: "What is needed is a direction toward
> 'semantic convergence,' clarity of shared meaning with a minimum
> number (approaching zero) of synonyms and homonyms."
> The same article continues: "Ron Schuldt, the originator of
> [UDEF], calls it the 'standard' to harmonize other 'standards.'"
> Schuldt describes the relationship between UDEF and XML in these
> terms: "The fundamental thing that XML lacks is what UDEF has to
> offer. Specifically, XML lacks a rigorous rules-based approach
> for standardizing tag names across multiple domains of
> discourse. UDEF applies a rigorous rules-based approach for
> naming data elements (tags) from which one is able to derive a
> taxonomy-based intelligent ID to the name. The ID is the key
> that allows an unlimited number of aliases."
> The ID referred to is created from objects and their qualifiers
> along with a hierarchy of properties. The objects are assigned
> values so: Entity=0, Asset=1, Document=2; Enterprise=3;
> Environment=4; Person=5; and so on (there are 15 objects in all)
> and there are 18 top-level properties including Amount=1;
> Graphic=2; Picture=3; Code=4; Date Time=5; Date=6; Name=10;
> Quantity=11; Rate=12; and so on.
> The values of these objects and properties are combined to
> create Data Element Names as follows starting from the left:
> 1. Optional qualifiers for the object class.
> 2. A period if item 1 exists.
> 3. Mandatory object classes separated by periods.
> 4. An underscore.
> 5. Optional qualifiers.
> 6. A period.
> 7. Mandatory properties separated by periods.
> So a UDEF mapping would, for example, assign
> document-publication-date to 2_5.6;
> software-product-version-identifier to p.9_8.8; and
> product-part-identifier to 9_5.8. See the UDEF presentation from
> July 25,
> 2003, for diagrams of the object classes, properties, and
> qualifiers (a revision of the UDEF objects and properties
> specification is due for release in the next few weeks).
> So now that we have UDEF IDs (UID), we can use them in XML
> documents as attributes of tags to ensure that objects have
> unequivocal meanings. For example:
> <CITY UID="q.3_1.1.10.10">PINACLE</CITY>
> <POSTALCODE UID="q.3_1.1.10.4">87345</POSTALCODE>
> This example is taken from an OAG document describing a purchase
> order. The UIDs provide the invariant framework for establishing
> cross standards interpretation. See the UDEF Compare report
> example which features two UDEF tagged Purchase Orders and a
> servlet that creates a comparison of matching data elements and
> the NIST/OAGi UDEF Proof of Concept meeting notes.
> So what will this mean in practice? The reality will be that no
> semantic framework, UDEF included, can do everything when it
> comes to translation between standards - there will always be
> some entity in some standard that simply won't fit the model.
> But the power of UDEF is that it will probably take care of the
> translation of the majority of entities leaving just a handful
> that will require more sophisticated translation to be carried
> out by custom code. And for run-of-the-mill business purposes,
> UDEF will most likely do it all.
> UDEF is a powerful idea and one that could have a major impact
> on your Web applications in the near future. Join the
> udef.builders mail list to track what is developing and watch
> for a major announcement in the next 30 days or so.
> [Special thanks to John Hardin of Sangha Interactive for his
> help with this article.]
> UDEF home page
> http://www.udef.org/
> Oasis Cover Pages
> http://xml.coverpages.org/udef.html
> UDEF presentation July 25, 2003
> http://www.udef.org/specdoc/UDEFv1pt03-July-2003.htm
> UDEF Compare report example
> http://www.sanghainteractive.com/whitepapers.html
> NIST/OAGi UDEF Proof of Concept
> http://www.nwfusion.com/go2/0517web2a.html
> udef.builders mail list
> mailto:udef.builders-subscribe@topica.com
> _______________________________________________________________
> To contact: Mark Gibbs
> Mark Gibbs <http://www.gibbs.com/mgbio> is a consultant,
> author, journalist, and columnist. He writes the weekly Backspin
> <http://www.nwfusion.com/columnists/gibbs.html> and Gearhead
> <http://www.nwfusion.com/columnists/gearhead.html> columns in
> Network World. Gibbs is also co-conspirator of the Vitally
> Important Information
> <http://www.vitallyimportantinformation.com/> Web site.
> ______________________________________________________________
> This newsletter is sponsored by Lucent
> This NW Special Report is targeted at helping IT business
> planners gain a clearer perspective on just how and why IT
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> _______________________________________________________________
> Archive of the Web Applications newsletter:
> http://www.nwfusion.com/newsletters/web/index.html
> _______________________________________________________________
> >
> >Recently added to NW Fusion's Vendor View section are Ten Minute
> >Tutorials (TMTs). Through streaming media, TMTs will educate you
> >on a variety of topics related to managing your enterprise
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> ><http://www.nwfusion.com/vendorview/index.html>
> >_______________________________________________________________
> >

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