The Effect of Syntax on Interoperability among Metadata Standards: Another Step towards Integrating Information Systems

By Taheri, Seyed Mahdi; Khosrowjerdi, Mahmood | Library Philosophy and Practice, December 2018 | Go to article overview

The Effect of Syntax on Interoperability among Metadata Standards: Another Step towards Integrating Information Systems


Taheri, Seyed Mahdi, Khosrowjerdi, Mahmood, Library Philosophy and Practice


Introduction

Interoperability has been a fundamental requirement of the current information systems environment for over 20 years (Sheth, 1999). It implies the capability of interaction among multiple information systems with the aim of data exchange and services. The process of interoperability occurs in line with internal and external integration of information systems with their inner parts and other information systems, and results in added value for existing systems in the process. This interaction occurs at two levels: syntactic and semantic (Sinaci, 2014). At the syntactic level, data exchange is based on common formats or use of communication protocols; and at the semantic level, it is based on interpretation of exchanged data in a meaningful manner in order to produce useful results consistent with the needs and cognitive level of the users. Since the traits and characteristics of each content object (input) are described (or processed) in the form of standards and metadata schemata in a meaningful manner, and are represented in a new product called metadata records, the metadata is regarded as an information system. Thus, like other information systems, the need for interaction among metadata systems to achieve the aims of the interoperability process is obvious, and it is known as "metadata interoperability" which is a kind of semantic interoperability.

In other words, regarding the wide range of content published in each of the human knowledge areas, and the variety of services which have been made possible with the help of developments in the field of information and communication technologies to present these objects, as well as supporting particular functions by each of the metadata standards, it is essential to benefit from a range of the metadata standards to manage the content objects and services presented in information systems (National Information Standards Organization (NISO), 2004). Besides, the interoperability of these standards is necessary in order to integrate the parts and processes of the information system.

In recent years, extensive theoretical and practical efforts have been made to perform and facilitate the interoperability process of information systems, particularly metadata systems. These studies have focused on different aspects of interoperability, including semantic Interoperability in Global Information Systems (Ouksel and Sheth, 1999), interoperability between metadata standards (Nogueras-Iso, 2005), automatic creation of crosswalk for geospatial metadata standard interoperability (Yang and Feng, 2012), event-based approach for semantic metadata interoperability (Ruotsalo and Hyvönen, 2007), approaches and standards for metadata interoperability in distributed image search and retrieval (Tous et al. 2011), changing focus on interoperability in information systems (Sheth, 1999), FSMI: MDR-Based Metadata Interoperability Framework for Sharing XML Documents (Na and Choi, 2005), new methods for enhancing the effectiveness of the Dublin Core metadata standard using complex encoding schemes (Szakadat et al. 2005), and Integration and Interoperability (Health Information Systems Programme (HISP)).

However, metadata requires syntax to represent itself. The machine-readability and machine-understandability of metadata is dependent on using syntax (Taheri et al., 2013). Therefore, some issues are raised here: Does syntax affect the interoperability of metadata standards? Does interaction among metadata standards occur at the syntax level? Will the selection of different syntax change the interoperability process? Can this syntax provide the grounds for the optimized management of the metadata and, subsequently, the content objects as the main objective of the integrity of information systems?

In the next section of this manuscript, after reviewing the Methodology, we aim to answer the above issues.

Methodology

This study examines the impact of syntax on the interoperability of metadata standards. …

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The Effect of Syntax on Interoperability among Metadata Standards: Another Step towards Integrating Information Systems
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