Skip to Main Content
Intuitively, data management and data integration tools are well-suited for exchanging information in a semantically meaningful way. Unfortunately, they suffer from two significant problems: They typically require a comprehensive schema design before they can be used to store or share information and they are difficult to extend because schema evolution is heavyweight and may break backward compatibility. As a result, many small-scale data sharing tasks are more easily facilitated by nondatabase-oriented tools that have little support for semantics. The goal of the peer data management system (PDMS) is to address this need: We propose the use of a decentralized, easily extensible data management architecture in which any user can contribute new data, schema information, or even mappings between other peers' schemes. PDMSs represent a natural step beyond data integration systems, replacing their single logical schema with an interlinked collection of semantic mappings between peers' individual schemas. This paper describes-several aspects of the Piazza PDMS, including the schema mediation formalism, query answering and optimization algorithms, and the relevance of PDMSs to the semantic Web.