Our research focuses on methods and tools that guarantee the interoperability, validity and reusability of data and processes over space and time. Our main objective is to enable reliable and sustainable information systems, in a context where Information Exchange is generally hindered by significant interoperability limitations and continuous change. This is due to various factors such as heterogeneous infrastructures, opaque legacy systems, diverse data formats, inconsistent semantics, uncontrolled evolution of resources.
We strongly believe that these challenges can only be soundly addressed at design level, through proper modelling techniques, that capture change in a principled way, so as to:
- Describe design intents and interpretational contexts as they evolve
- Manage the evolution of the underlying description mechanisms (metamodel reflexivity)
- Maintain the consistency of the evolving systems.
This research is currently mainly conducted in the framework of the PERICLES EU project, an Integrated Project funded by the European Union under its Seventh Framework Programme (ICT Call 9). PERICLES is a four-year project that aims to address the challenge of ensuring that digital content remains accessible in an environment that is subject to continual change, following preservation by design as a guiding principle.
In that light, we consider information ecosystems (data, metadata, processes) as systems of linked resources, connecting pieces of data and knowledge using URIs and Semantic Web technologies (RDF Schema, OWL). Our global model (the Linked Resource Model) must not only describe the core digital entities (Resources) of the ecosystem; it must also provide the concepts and mechanisms to describe its evolution in a controlled manner, while maintaining its essential properties.