Ahmed El-Roby, PhD candidate
David R. Cheriton School of Computer Science
Today, there is an abundance of structured data available on the web in the form of RDF graphs and relational (i.e., tabular) data. This data comes from heterogeneous sources, and realizing its full value requires integrating these sources so that they can be queried together. Due to the scale and heterogeneity of the data sources on the web, integrating them is typically an automatic process.
However, automatic data integration approaches are not completely accurate since they infer semantics from syntax in data sources with a high degree of heterogeneity. Therefore, these automatic approaches can be considered as a first step to quickly get reasonable quality data integration output that can be used in issuing queries over the data sources. A second step is refining this output over time while it is being used. Interacting with the data sources through the output of the data integration system and refining this output requires expertise in data management, which limits the scope of this activity to power users and consequently limits the usability of data integration systems.
This thesis focuses on helping non-expert users to access heterogeneous data sources through data integration systems, without requiring the users to have prior knowledge of the queried data sources or exposing them to the details of the output of the data integration system. In addition, the users can provide feedback over the answers to their queries, which can then be used to refine and improve the quality of the data integration output.
The thesis studies both RDF and relational data. For RDF data, the thesis focuses on helping non-expert users to query heterogeneous RDF data sources, and utilizing their feedback over query answers to improve the quality of the interlinking between these data sources. For relational data, the thesis focuses on improving the quality of the mediated schema for a set of relational data sources and the semantic mappings between these sources based on user feedback over query answers.
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