Beauty and the Beast: The Theory and Practice of Information Integration

Laura M. Haas

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Abstract:

Information integration is becoming a critical problem for businesses and individuals alike. Data volumes are sky-rocketing, and new sources and types of information are proliferating. This paper briefly reviews some of the key research accomplishments in information integration (theory and systems), then describes the current state-of-the-art in commercial practice, and the challenges (still) faced by CIOs and application developers. One critical challenge is choosing the right combination of tools and technologies to do the integration. Although each has been studied separately, we lack a unified (and certainly, a unifying) understanding of these various approaches to integration. Experience with a variety of integration projects suggests that we need a broader framework, perhaps even a theory, which explicitly takes into account requirements on the result of the integration, and considers the entire end-to-end integration process.

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