In speaking of thesemantic Web, it is not infrequent that theopen world assumption (OWA) gets mentioned. What this post argues is that this somewhat obscure concept may hold within it the key as to why there have been decades of too-frequent failures in the enterprise inbusiness intelligence,data warehousing,data integration andfederation, andknowledge management.
This is a fairly bold assertion. In order to support it, we first need to look to the logic and mindset assumptions associated with traditional relational data management and the semantic Web. We then need to look to the nature of knowledge itself and its relation to data federation. It is in this intersection that the key of decades of faulty premises may reside.
The main argument is that theclosed world assumption (CWA) and its prevalent mindset in traditional database systems have hindered the ability of enterprises and the vendors that support them to adopt incremental, low-risk means to knowledge systems and management. CWA, in turn, has led to over-engineered schema, too-complicated architectures and massive specification efforts that have led to high deployment costs, blown schedules and brittleness.
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