An Object Exchange Model (OEM) has been developed by ARPA-funded researchers for providing integrated access to diverse and dynamic information sources. The model is flexible enough to encompass all types of information, yet it is simple enough to facilitate information integration. OEM also includes semantic information about objects, in the form of "self-describing" labels. This makes it possible to describe the meaning of each object or its subcomponents. An SQL-like language has also been developed for querying sources.
The self-describing object exchange model provides the flexibility needed in a heterogeneous, dynamic environment. Objects are not constrained to have the same structure or the same labels, and hence it is possible to combine objects that came from different sources. The flexibility of the OEM has been demonstrated through a generic object browser (based on Mosaic) that lets a user explore a collection of heterogeneous bibliographic sources.
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