An Architecture for Information Exchange Based on Reference Models

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The goal of reference models is to establish a common vocabulary and recently also to facilitate semantically unambiguous information exchange between IT systems. However, IT systems are based on implementation models that typically deviate significantly from the reference models. This raises the need for a mapping mechanism, which is flexible enough to cope with the disparities between implementation model and reference model at runtime and on instance level, and which can be implemented without altering the established IT system. We present an architecture that solves this problem by establishing methods for representing the instances of an existing IT-System in terms of a reference model. Based on rules, the concrete nature of the representation is decided at run time. Albeit our approach is entirely domain independent, we demonstrate the feasibility of our approach in an industrial case study from the Oil and Gas domain, using the ISO 15926 ontology as a reference model and mapping it to different Java and Flex implementation models.