Excerpt from Context Interchange: A Lattice Based Approach
What exactly constitutes the context is difficult to answer [lyo81]. The concept of context has been addressed in many areas such as sensory process, perception, language, concept learning, recall and recognition [bur52, Coe77, Tho88]. The main reason for the context assuming a central role in these areas is that objects and their associated events constitute an integral part of their environment and cannot be understood in isolation of that environment. In this paper we do not attempt to give precise definition for this term, even though this is part of our long term research objective. We assume that context knowledge of a data item is a triple given by the semantic knowledge of the data, the organization of the data, and the quality parameters of the data. In this paper, we concentrate only on the semantic component of the context, which is formally defined in Section 3.
Consider the process by which a financial analyst accesses the prices for shares of a particular company. He or she needs to gather information from several stock exchanges located in different nations and must overcome semantic discrepencies at multiple levels: the stock prices are stated in different currencies, the currencies are ﬂoating with respect to each other; the stock price may be the latest-price or the closing-price; etc. Such semantics are implicit in many existing databases. Unless these semantics are made explicit, it is difficult to identify and resolve underlying semantic incompatibilities. The fundamental question is how to make such semantics explicit and how to quickly identify the incompatibilities and resolve them if possible.
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