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The future of the Web is Semantic (18 Oct 2005)
To properly model and manage a service-oriented architecture (SOA), enterprise architects must maintain active representations of the services available to the enterprise. Specifically, to discover and organize their services, the architects must use best practices that model and assemble services using metadata, encapsulate business logic in metadata for dynamic binding, and manage with metadata. Ontologies provide a very powerful and flexible way to aggregate, visualize, and normalize this service metadata layer.

An ontology is a network of concepts, relationships, and constraints that provide context for data and information as well as processes. Ontologies enhance service discovery, modeling, assembly, mediation, and semantic interoperability. They improve the way people browse, explore, and interact with complex metadata information spaces. A business ontology is a formal specification of business concepts and their interrelationships that facilitates machine reasoning and inference. A business ontology ties systems together using metadata, much as a database ties together discrete pieces of data. This abstraction provides agility and flexibility, as interfaces can be changed and new resources and subscribers added easily, even while the system is running.

Semantics are the future of service-oriented integration. Semantic technologies provide an abstraction layer above existing IT technologies, one that enables the bridging and interconnection of data, content, and processes across business and IT silos. Finally, from the human interaction perspective, semantic technologies add a new level of semantic portals that provide far more intelligent, relevant, and contextually aware interactions than those available with the traditional point-to-point integration approach for portal-based information delivery.
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