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Abstract

This paper presents a new theoretical contribution that provides a middle-of-the-road approach to formal ontologies in federated information systems. NASA’s space physics domain, like many other domains, is relatively unfamiliar with the emerging Semantic Web. This work offers a new framework that garners the benefits of formal logic yet shields participants and users from the details of the technology. Moreover, the results of a case study involving the utilization of the Semantic Web within NASA’s space physics domain are presented. A real-world search and retrieval system, relying on relational database technology, is compared against a near identical system that incorporates a formal ontology. The efficiency, efficacy, and implementation details of the Semantic Web are compared against the established relational database technology.

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