Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Wise OWLs of criminal justice

Law enforcement agencies explore semantics

Experts say the use of semantic technology is growing among consultants and application developers. The World Wide Web Consortium’s adoption of two semantic standards — the Resource Description Framework (RDF) and Web Ontology Language (OWL) — has further spurred the use of the technology in the past two years. Although the intelligence community is probably the most advanced in using such tools, experts note that deployment in other sectors is still sporadic.

Paul Wormeli, executive director of the Integrated Justice Information Systems Institute, a nonprofit organization that prompts the technology industry to develop new standards and practices in the public safety sector, said several companies are beginning to deploy semantic technology, but it is still new to state and local law enforcement agencies.

He said law enforcement officials are still struggling with implementing Extensible Markup Language-based messaging standards such as the Global Justice XML Data Model, and 200 similar projects are probably under way.

“But the future thrust is toward implementing a service-oriented architecture and the ontologies that will need to be implemented in such a service-oriented approach to [exchange] information,” he wrote in an e-mail message. SOA “will benefit considerably from the application of semantic concepts.”

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