In this paper we discuss some topics related to knowledge representation,
and the mechanisms that can be used to bring that knowledge to the
user, mostly through the Web. This topic became relevant, when we
faced the problem of publishing large amounts of data from several
different sources, in the context of project GEIRA, an EC supported
project under the INTERREG II program, that is developing a service
to publish multimedia information about science and technology, cultural
resources and environmental protection in the North of Portugal and
Galiza (North-West Spain). The problem is not one of making a visible
presence for each institution on the Web, but of taking advantage
of the complete information delivered by them all. For the participating
museums, we would like user to visit each museum but, more than that,
to see related collections or objects, available in other museums.
The diversity of institutions participating in the project GEIRA is
so rich, that the user can see other information related to some objects,
like the biography of the author, a list of publications citing the
object, and even see (through a GIS plug-in) the archaeological site
where an object was found.
The major discussion in this paper is of two different models for
data representation: the relational database and annotated documents.
As we will show the former has advantages when manipulating structured
data and has several sophisticated and affordable tools available.
The later model is suited for less structured information, or at least,
before a formal structure is identified. To be less structured does
not mean that we cannot use useful tools, like thesaurus and encyclopedia
views. As an open question, for future work, is the possibility of
using some hybrid model, with the advantages of both data models.
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