The WHIRL Approach to Integration: An Overview

William Cohen

We describe a new integration system, in which information sources are converted into a highly structured collection of small fragments of text. Database-like queries to this structured collection of text fragments are approximated using a novel logic called WHIRL, which combines inference in the style of deductive databases with ranked retrieval methods from information retrieval. WHIRL allows queries that integrate information from information sources, without requiring the extraction and normalization of object identifiers that can be used as keys; instead, operations that in conventional databases require equality tests on keys are approximated using IR similarity metrics for text. This leads to a reduction in the amount of human engineering required to field an integration system.

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