Locating and Accessing Data Repositories with WebSemantics
Many collections of scientific data in particular disciplines are available today on the World Wide Web. Most of these data sources are compliant with some standard for interoperable access. In addition, sources may support a common semantics, i.e., a shared meaning for the data types and their domains. However, sharing data among a global community of users is still difficult because of the following reasons: (i) data provides need a mechanism for describing and publishing available sources of data; (ii) data administrators need a mechanism for discovering the location of published sources and obtaining metadata from these sources; and (iii) users need a mechanism for browsing and selecting sources. This paper describes a system, WebSemantics, that accomplishes the above tasks. We describe an architecture for the publication and discovery of scientific data sources that is an extension of the World Wide Web architecture and protocols. We support catalogs containing metadata about data sources for some application domain. We define a language for discovering sources and querying their metadata. We then describe the WebSemantics prototype.