Integrating Data by Integrating Meta-Data and Meta-Data Languages
The following is an abstract for a lecture given in the UCSD Computer Science & Engineering Dept, Database Research Seminar, on 7 February 2003.

An ontology is a theory in a logic, and a database is a model of a theory in a logic, but which logic? And what is a logic? And while we are asking such abstract questions, what precisely does it mean to integrate databases? Or to integrate ontologies? What if the logics involved are different? (Languages for expressing ontologies include Owl, Ontologic, Flora, KIF, and RDF.) And what about schemas and the languages in which they are expressed? Or their underlying data models (which include relational, object oriented, spreadsheet, formatted file, ...)?

This talk sketches how such questions can be answered using institutions, an axiomatization of the notion of logical system, based on Tarski's idea of taking the notion of satisfaction as central. We sketch institutions and their theory, avoiding category theory as much as possible, but if you are brave, you might want to look at the following paper, since institution morphisms are what translate between logics, while theory morphisms are what translate ontologies and schemas:

Although this talk does not go into the technicalities, it will discuss the roles of institution morphisms and Grothendieck institutions.

The slide webpages for a prior lecture, Ontologies, Ontology Languages, and Data Integration by Metadata Integration, especially the page Federating the Kingdoms of Ontology, can provide some intuition for this lecture; see also the Data Integration page, and my Notes for the SEEK Project page.

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Maintained by Joseph Goguen
Last modified: Mon Mar 10 15:25:59 PST 2003
Added June 2004: Some papers written on this area after the lecture can be found in the bibliography section of the Data Integration webpage.