An OASIS in the data desert

An OASIS in the data desert

March 23, 2009:A new standard for accessing unstructured information such as e-mails, blog entries, news feeds, and notes is being promsied by OASIS, the Organisation for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards.

OASIS members have approved the Unstructured Information Management Architecture (UIMA) version 1.0 as an OASIS Standard, a status that signifies the highest level of ratification. UIMA standardizes semantic search and content analytics, providing a common method for meaningfully accessing unstructured data, as well as in audio recordings, images, and video.

Unstructured information represents the largest, most current, and fastest growing source of knowledge available to businesses and governments. It includes documents found on the web, plus an estimated 80% of the information generated by enterprises around the world.

"The approval of UIMA as an OASIS Standard represents a significant milestone in the areas of semantic analysis and search," said David Ferrucci of IBM, chair of the OASIS UIMA Technical Committee.

"UIMA enables interoperability among a variety of application-specific analysis engines allowing the capture of a broad range of knowledge from unstructured sources. The results can then be used by search engines, databases or knowledge bases, ultimately delivering more value from all types of unstructured information by discovering relationships, identifying patterns and predicting outcomes."

"While OASIS has been developing the UIMA standard, the Apache Software Foundation has hosted an incubator project for UIMA-based open source software," noted Laurent Liscia, executive director of OASIS. "This is an exciting example of how open standards and open source development projects can complement one another to everyone's benefit."

In accordance with eligibility requirements for all OASIS Standards, successful use of UIMA was verified by IBM, Amsoft, Carnegie Mellon University, Thomson Reuters, and the University of Tokyo.

"Our customers continue to look for flexible, open ways to access and make better use of information buried throughout the enterprise in places such as e-mails, call center notes, images, recordings and feeds to extract new intelligence. IBM continues to build a number of products based on the UIMA standard. For example, IBM eDiscovery Analyzer, IBM Content Analyzer, IBM OmniFind Enterprise Edition, and IBM InfoSphere Warehouse are already helping customers worldwide generate new insights and make better business decisions in use cases spanning diverse areas including legal discovery, customer care and criminal investigations," said Carl Kessler, vice president of worldwide development for IBM content management.

UIMA was developed under the Royalty Free on Limited Terms mode of the OASIS Intellectual Property Rights Policy. Participation in the OASIS UIMA Technical Committee remains open to all companies, non-profit groups, governments, academic institutions, and individuals. As with all OASIS projects, archives of the Committee's work are accessible to both members and non-members, and OASIS hosts an open mail list for public comment.

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