Constructing multilevel metadata networks for sharing dispersed and transient information in a mobile environment

Shashi Phoha

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


An intelligent multi-user mechanism has been prototyped at the Information System Collaboratory of the Pennsylvania State University, which is capable of resolving global queries with differing and overlapping information needs, spatial scalability and temporal assumptions. The sources of information for this prototype are mechanical damage monitoring sensors embedded in equipment at plant sites, on-board ships or aircrafts, archived historical and diagnostic databases like those available through NALCOMIS (NAVMASSO document J-004 EM-001C, 1995) logistics and maintenance databases at depots, interactive electronic technical manuals stored in databases, dynamic models of damage, and models of operational performance. The concept-of-operation includes mobile access to this information by equipment maintainers on-board ships, aircrafts and other mobile platforms. Real-time interoperation of these system components and databases, under dynamic equipment operating conditions of thermo-mechanical and environmental stress, requires complex interactions of internal representations of sensor data, performance requirements, resources and equipment models, with rich semantics. To support such interactions, following the work of Bright, Hurson and Pakzad (Bright, Hurson, and Pakzad, Transactions on Database Systems, Vol. 19, No. 2, pp. 212-253, 1994) local schema terms of available data sources are organized as the leaf nodes in a semantic network of metadata. The physical nodes of the network are partitioned into a top-down multi-level search control structure of increasing precision and decreasing semantic aggregation. Each physical node supports search through all lower layers of metadata in connected tree configurations. The resulting multilayered semantic network is modeled as a Thesaurus of terms T and relationships R. A relationship in R may be crisp or fuzzy. The DTIC (Defense Technical Information Center) thesaurus for equipment maintenance was used as starting point in this work. It was further enhanced by application specific terms and endowed with a distance function. This distance function is used to formulate user adaptable Graphic User Interfaces (GUI) for making quality of service tradeoffs in the resolution of global queries. Step-by-step construction of the thesaurus as a multilevel metadata network, its scalability, dynamic adaptation through usage, and tolerance of semantic imprecision in query resolution are discussed in this paper. Furthermore, performance metrology for evaluating quality of service in global query resolution is also developed (Phoha, in Proceedings of the NIST Workshop on Advancing Measurements and Testing for Information Technology, Gaithersburg, MD, Oct. 1998). This work was funded by DARPA for the past four years under grant DE-FC36-94G010064, for establishing a National Information Infrastructure Testbed for Electronic Commerce in equipment health monitoring, failure diagnosis and prognosis services.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)203-218
Number of pages16
JournalMultimedia Tools and Applications
Issue number2
StatePublished - Nov 2001

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Software
  • Media Technology
  • Hardware and Architecture
  • Computer Networks and Communications


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