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Enabling the Web of Entities. A scalable and sustainable solution for systematic and global identifier reuse in decentralized information environments (OKKAM)
Start date: Jan 1, 2008, End date: Jun 30, 2010 PROJECT  FINISHED 

Description Entity identifiers should not be multiplied beyond necessityPrepare to 'Okkamize'!OKKAM will deliver a secure and privacy aware open source infrastructure to manage entity references. Just as the WWW enables a global decentralised network of documents, connected by hyperlinks, OKKAM will provide a global digital space for publishing and managing information about entities, where every entity is uniquely identified, entities can be reused across digital resources and links between entities can be explicitly specified and exploited in a variety of scenarios. OKKAMs repository of global identifiers is designed to support forms of information integration that are currently simply impossible. The entity-oriented approach to content and knowledge management will be validated in relevant applications in industries like scientific publishing, news and product support. The OKKAM project aims at enabling the Web of Entities, a virtual space where any collection of data and information about any type of entities (e.g. people, locations, organizations, events, artifacts, ...) published on the Web can be integrated into a single virtual, decentralized, open knowledge base, just like the Web did for hypertexts.OKKAM will contribute to this vision by supporting the convergence towards the use of a single and globally unique identifier for any entity which is named on the Web. The intuition of the project is that the concrete realization of the Web of Entities requires that we enable tools and practices for cutting to the root the proliferation of unnecessary new identifiers for naming the entities which already have a public identifier ('OKKAM's razor'). Therefore, OKKAM will make available to content creators, editors and developers a global infrastructure and a collection of new tools and plugins which support them to easily find public identifiers for the entities named in their contents/services, use them for creating annotations, build new network-based services which make essential use of these identifiers in an open environment (like the Web or large Intranets). To realize this vision, OKKAM has the following roadmap: 1. providing a scalable and sustainable infrastructure, called the Entity Name System (ENS), for making the systematic reuse of global and unique entity identifiers not only possible, but easy and straightforward. The ENS will be a distributed service which permanently stores identifiers for entities and provides a collection of core services (e.g. entity matching, ID mapping and resolution) needed to support their pervasive reuse; 2. bootstrapping and enabling the fast growth of Web of Entities by fostering the creation of OKKAMized content (i.e. content where entities are named or annotated with OKKAM IDs) in OKKAM-empowered applications (i.e. applications which can interact with the ENS for getting and reusing identifiers); 3. showcasing the benefits of enabling the Web of Entities and, more in general, of an entity-oriented approach to content and knowledge management by building relevant applications on top of the new infrastructure in three important areas: information retrieval and semantic search, content authoring (more specifically, in scientific publishing and news production) and organizational knowledge management. The impact of the proposed infrastructure cannot be easily overestimated. Not only it will provide a general service for entity-level integration of virtually any type of data and service into the global Web of Entities; but it will also provide the solid foundation for a whole generation of new applications and services which will benefit from the use of global identifiers in large collections of OKKAMized content and data.  

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