Hybrid Ontology + Relational Store with SQL Server
There are many references in the literature to exposing existing SQL data sources as RDF. This is certainly one way to integrate existing databases with semantic reasoning tools but it clearly requires a lot more storage and processing than simply keeping the data in SQL and querying over it directly. So recently I began some experiments to create a hybrid store by merging an ontology triple (quad) store with an existing database. By linking each row in other SQL tables to an Entity in the triple store I can take advantage of their existing columns, indexes, relationships etc. whilst also being able to reason over them. The first part of this is now working, Entities can be derived types stored in separate SQL tables linked only by an Id, and I am now moving on to getting the metadata in place that will provide all of the implied relationships that can be derived from an existing row-structured database into the ontology store – not as duplicated information but as a service that the reasoner will use to get statements about the SQL content. Clearly this will require changes in both the reasoner and the store but I think the net effect will be a much more efficient reasoner able to reason over large volumes of structured information quickly without having to first turn everything into a statement triple.
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