Table of Contents

semantics in business systems: the savvy manager's guide
Semantics in Business Systems: The Savvy Manager's Guide
by Dave McComb  ISBN:1558609172
Morgan Kaufmann Publishers © 2004 (399 pages)

This interesting guide contains the knowledge you need to understand and assess how semantics can help your information systems. It also explores future applications of semantics, illustrating its connection to XML and the Semantic Web.

Table of Contents
Semantics in Business Systems—The Savvy Manager's Guide
Chapter 1 - Semantics—A Trillion-Dollar Cottage Industry
Chapter 2 - Business Semantics
Chapter 3 - The Process Side of Business Systems
Chapter 4 - Terms—Vocabulary, Taxonomy, and Ontology
Chapter 5 - Data and Object Modeling
Chapter 6 - Metadata
Chapter 7 - Interpreting Meaning
Chapter 8 - Business Rules and Creating Meaning
Chapter 9 - Semantic Elicitation—Uncovering Meaning
Chapter 10 - Understanding and Communicating Meaning
Chapter 11 - Extensible Markup Language (XML)
Chapter 12 - Semantic-Based Enterprise Application Integration and Systems Integration
Chapter 13 - Web Services
Chapter 14 - The Semantic Web
Chapter 15 - Getting Started
Appendix A - Quick Reference
Appendix B - Resources for Further Investigation
List of Figures
List of Tables
List of Sidebars

What does semantics have to do with information systems, databases, enterprise integration and Web services? Though sometimes misunderstood as an arcane liberal art, semantics is at the core of these and other emerging technologies. Semantics is a powerful and intuitive philosophy, methodology, and framework that can be used to leverage existing knowledge, data, and resources, ensuring your systems will be able to evolve with your business and keep pace with technology in the years to come.

Well-written and engaging, Semantics in Business Systems: The Savvy Manager’s Guide contains the knowledge you need to understand and assess how semantics can help your information systems. It begins with a clear explanation of what semantics is and then describes, using real-world examples, how semantics currently affects business systems. The book then explores future applications of semantics, illustrating its connection to XML and the Semantic Web.


  • Presents an easy and enjoyable introduction to semantics in the context of business IT systems.
  • Articulates the business value of semantics, while providing relevant introductory technical background.
  • Describes the semantic underpinnings of data modeling, business rules, enterprise integration, and Web services.
  • Contains a handy quick-reference guide to technologies and terminology.

About the Author

Dave McComb has been successful leading software development, planning and review projects for over 25 years, 13 with Andersen Consulting and 13 with independent projects. For the last 10 years he has been applying semantic modeling to the design of application systems. He is the lead inventor on three patents derived from his work on a breakthrough architecture that allows applications to be built entirely from data, without application code.

Semantics in Business Systems—The Savvy Manager's Guide

Dave McComb


Senior Editor Lothlórien Homet
Publishing Services Manager Simon Crump
Editorial Coordinator Corina Derman
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Morgan Kaufmann Publishers
An imprint of Elsevier
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San Francisco, CA 94111

Copyright © 2004 Elsevier (USA).

All rights reserved.

2007 2006 2005 2004 2003 54321

No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means—electronic, mechanical, photocopying, scanning or otherwise—without prior written permission of the Publisher.

Library of Congress Control Number: 2003107038



I have had a great deal of help with the early drafts of this manuscript. A number of people have contributed mightily with voluminous notes, clarifications, and comments on passages that were unclear. You have them to thank, as much as me, that this volume is readable at all. I can't thank them enough for generously giving of their time and expertise. I have listed them in approximately the order of the substantiveness of their contributions. I don't want to diminish anyone's contributions, because every contribution improved the book, but I do want to recognize those who provided measured improvements to the work:

Joram Borenstein
Bob Smith
Simon Robe
Mike Uschold
Kent Swanson
David Hollander
Janice Lawrence
Uche Ogbuji
R. Todd Stephens

Also much thanks to Sean Keaney, Jim Long, Scott Goode, Peter Weinstein, Peter Brown, Simon Hoare, and Lindsay Faussone.

And of course I'd like to thank my editors and publishers at Morgan Kaufman, specifically Lothlórien Homet, and at Graphic World Publishing Services, Beth Callaway.

Future Acknowledgments

I hope to have the opportunity to do a second edition of this book. I would be honored to have your comments, criticisms, or areas of confusion. I would like to have a section for acknowledgment of the major contributors to the second edition.

If you have any comments that would improve the quality of this book for future readers, please contact me at the following email address: I would appreciate it if you would point out errors, places where you think I may be misleading, or areas that were confusing. If you know of companies that embody any of the concepts I speak of here, please let me know about them.

Finally, thank you for giving me the opportunity to contribute to your professional development.

Dave McComb
Semantic Arts, Inc.
Fort Collins, CO
February 26, 2003

Dedicated to Heidi, Addie, and Eli

For their generous support during the long hours this project kept me away from them