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<h1>The EILF Project</h1>
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<h3> Please note: at the Creation Review, the project name
will be changed to SMILA (The SeMantic Information Logistics Architecture).</h3>
<p>The EILF project is a proposed open source
project under the Eclipse Technology Project.</p>
<p>According to the <a href="">Eclipse Development Process</a>, this
proposal is intended to declare the intent and scope of the EILF project as well as to gather input from the Eclipse community.
You are invited to comment on and/or join the project. Please send all feedback to the
<a href=""></a> newsgroup.</p>
<p>Enterprise information systems have
mainly focused on structured information residing in databases, ERP systems,
etc. Now, however, the management of unstructured information is receiving more and more
attention in the market. The term Information Access Management (IAM) has been
coined as a name for a more general approach that bridges the two worlds.</p>
<p>Some vendors address the need for IAM tools
with proprietary approaches mainly originating in their domestic market, such
as search engine technology. In addition, some attempts have been undertaken to
address specific parts of IAM even in the open source community (cf. UIMA).</p>
<p>However, a standardized architecture
covering all parts of the IAM process on an enterprise level is still missing. This
includes the standardization of the overall architecture and frequently
used building blocks as well as a methodology for implementing IAM systems.</p>
<p>Having many years of project and product
development experience in information logistics, search and related IAM
applications, empolis GmbH and brox IT-Solutions GmbH decided to join forces
and are now seeking more interested parties, e.g. Eclipse members, to launch
the <b><i>Enterprise Information Logistics Framework</i></b> (EILF) project
addressing the above mentioned aspects.</p>
<p>The EILF project will deliver the foundation
for building IAM systems ranging from medium-sized to enterprise-level
installations. For doing so, EILF will define and implement a standard
architecture making intensive use of the OSGi model to support componentization
and extensibility.</p>
<p>Mainly focusing on the server-side
architecture, EILF will provide a platform enabling all relevant steps in IAM,
including management of data sources, data access, pre-processing of
(structured and mainly unstructured) data, linguistic analysis, indexing,
search and so on. </p>
<p><img border=0
<p><b>Figure 1</b>: Architecture Overview of EILF</p>
<p>Components from existing Eclipse projects
will be adapted and integrated in the EILF platform in order to implement specific
steps in usual IAM processes. Furthermore, EILF will deliver new components as
they are needed for the targeted IAM processes.</p>
<p>As an example, the EILF platform will allow
for the implementation of an enterprise information system by</p>
<li>collecting documents from a variety of
(external and internal) data sources</li>
<li>pre-processing this data</li>
<li>enriching it with semantic metadata </li>
<li>indexing data and metadata</li>
<li>making all information accessible either
via an integrated search platform or via direct access through web
<p><img border=0
<p><b>Figure 2</b>: Architecture Overview - Service Model of EILF</p>
<p>To summarize, EILF will deliver a platform
as well as dedicated components for the implementation of a next generation IAM
and information logistics purposes.</p>
<p>Thus, EILF will allow enterprise
organizations to use latest information access/management technology in their
business processes.</p>
<p>The EILF project will address a set of
features and components that are required for the implementation of typical
information logistic platforms. Some of the most important aspects will be
described briefly in the following.</p>
<h3>Standardized and Scalable Architecture</h3>
<p>EILF will deliver a highly scalable
architecture for IAM processes based on well-established standards. The
objective is to serve a wide range of application scenarios from medium-sized
simple search environments to enterprise-level business information systems. Scalability
will be achieved by an appropriate design which ensures that additional
resources (e.g. hardware) can easily be added to a running system in order to
achieve a higher throughput of data etc. The underlying infrastructure will
probably rely on messaging systems and queuing for use cases aiming at high
throughput of data while other approaches need to be provided for synchronous
<p>A major focus of EILF will be on
componentization of the overall system architecture, thus ensuring that other
open source tools, products by different vendors, or even project-specific extensions
can easily be plugged into the system. Componentization will make use of OSGi
while the various OSGi services need to be orchestrated by an appropriate and
user-friendly mechanism that still needs to be identified. </p>
<p>In addition, we believe that the
configuration and orchestration of the appropriate components should not only
be possible by highly technical people actually <i>programming</i> new
“workflows” but rather this should be configurable by an experienced and
trained user. Standards, such as BPEL appear to be promising candidates for
this – in particular when appropriate tools become available.</p>
<h3>Data Source Management</h3>
<p>For any IAM platform, access to a variety
of data sources is essential. Some of these data sources can be considered
fairly standardized (e.g. when crawling Web resources) while others are highly
proprietary. While EILF cannot deliver ready-to-use solutions for all such data
sources, the objective is to make available a set of standardized connectors
(crawlers) for the most relevant data sources – but also to provide a framework
by means of which connectors to other data sources can easily be integrated.</p>
<h3>Operating and Management</h3>
<p>Operation, management and monitoring of the
IAM solution are particularly relevant for enterprise-level systems. EILF will
address that requirement by providing tools and approaches by means of which
the current state of any EILF-based system can be monitored in terms of a general
health check of the entire application as well as the single components. In
addition, this shall allow verifying utilized hardware resources in order to
foresee upcoming problems and bottlenecks. Standards, such as SNMP, will be
addressed here.</p>
<p>Additionally, enhancing the management
capabilities of IAM technology in the area of backup management is on focus.
One of the major aspects for a next generation IAM technology will be the
ability to integrate in backup and maintenance procedures of enterprise
companies. This fact will be more and more important, because the amount of
required computing will increase depending on the increased usage of semantic
technologies in the future.</p>
<h3>Authentication and Authorization</h3>
<p>Just as any other enterprise application,
IAM systems as well require Authentication and Authorization be handled in a
careful manner. This includes access rights with regards to information
available in the system, permissions to (not) execute certain operations, but
also user profiles which may potentially drive processes in the IAM system.
Also, functional aspects such as single-sign-on (SSO) are very important.</p>
<p>Analytics and Business Intelligence
Reporting are essential parts to any IAM system as the information provided in
such reports not only allows to optimize the usage of the system but also to
identify missing information via knowledge gap analysis and similar approaches.
<p>The powerful reporting engine provided by
Eclipse BIRT will very likely be utilized with EILF even though this aspect may
be shifted to later releases of the project.</p>
<h2>Out of Scope</h2>
<p>As of today, the EILF project does not focus
on the client (user interface) part of IAM systems. This limitation includes
the integration into existing enterprise portals or other user interface
approaches. Sample clients might potentially be provided but probably mainly
for demonstration purposes.</p>
<p>Also, the implementation of specific
aspects of IAM (such as e.g. leading edge linguistic technology or ontology
management components) is out of scope although the integration of such
components in the EILF platform should be straightforward.</p>
<p>In terms of completeness, EILF will provide
basic working components while commercial vendors may offer more advanced
implementations of those components, for example relating to scalability or
feature sets.</p>
<p>All of the above are subject to change
should the need arise to more tightly integrate one or more of these aspects
with the current scope of EILF.</p>
<li>Wayne Beaton, Eclipse Foundation</li>
<li>Markus Knauer, Innoopract</li>
<h3>Initial Committers</h3>
<p>The initial committers will ensure the
setup of the EILF platform as well as the initial implementation of both the
platform and selected components. The agile development process will follow
the Eclipse Development Process standards for openness and transparency. Hence, we will actively
encourage contributions to EILF.</p>
<p>The initial committers and contributors are:</p>
<li>Georg Schmidt (brox IT-Solutions GmbH): architect,
project lead and committer</li>
<li>Igor Novakovic (empolis GmbH): team lead,
<li>Jürgen Schumacher (empolis GmbH):
architect, committer</li>
<li>Daniel Stucky (empolis GmbH): architect, contributor</li>
<li>Sebastian Voigt (brox IT-Solutions GmbH):
senior developer, committer</li>
<li>Ralf Rausch (brox IT-Solutions GmbH): developer,
<li>Ralf Schumann (brox IT-Solutions GmbH):
developer, contributor</li>
<li>Thomas Menzel (brox IT-Solutions GmbH):
architect, committer</li>
<h3>Code Contribution</h3>
<p>empolis GmbH as well as brox IT-Solutions
GmbH offer initial code contributions for some of the components based on their
experience and long-standing development expertise in the information logistics
<h3>Interested Parties</h3>
<p>Both empolis GmbH as well as brox
IT-Solutions GmbH express their explicit interest in the project as also
indicated by the list of committers and contributors above.</p>
<p>Furthermore, Arexera Information
Technologies GmbH (represented by their CTO, Bidjan Tschaitschian) as well as
project partners on behalf of Siemens and SAP expressed their interest in the
EILF project. </p>
<p>More generally, universities and research
centers are interested in using a standardized framework for search
technologies to use it as a foundation for further research. The project fits
also the interests of the Fraunhofer institutes as well as the DFKI (German Institute
for Artificial Intelligence) because of its integration in processing chains of
research projects. </p>
<p>Moreover, EILF will be highly interesting
for commercial software when it comes to integrating specific components and
building blocks into a fully operational environment without having to care
about the entire infrastructure from scratch. The cooperation between brox IT-Solutions
GmbH and empolis GmbH is already a very good example of that: while the primary
focus of brox’ technology is on accessibility and management of (unstructured)
data, the key benefit of empolis’ technology is on indexing and semantic
refinement of that data – in a productive environment, however, both aspects
need to be addressed simultaneously.</p>
<p>Last but not least one of the main focuses
of standardization departments of enterprise companies will be on
standardization of building blocks in their companies. The EILF project is the
first approach to deliver such a standardized approach for IAM technology.
Therefore, also enterprise companies have a major interest on the outcome of
the EILF project.</p>
<h3>Relationships to other Eclipse projects </h3>
<p>The following projects currently hosted by
Eclipse might potentially become relevant in the course of EILF (in
alphabetical order):</p>
<li><b>BIRT</b> (<a
provides reporting features potentially relevant for the collection of information
about usage of EILF components.</li>
<li><b>BPEL</b> (<a
href=""></a>) very
likely will be used to orchestrate services as part of EILF.</li>
<li><b>Corona</b> (<a
could potentially serve as a server-side runtime environment for EILF
<li><b>Connectivity</b> (<a
could deliver functionality for gathering content from diverse data
<li><b>EclipseLink</b> (<a href=""></a>)
can potentially provide components for the persistence of data inside EILF.</li>
<li><b>Equinox</b> (<a
definitely will be utilized in order to implement componentization based
on OSGi.</li>
<li><b>Higgins</b> (<a
addresses identity management which will become relevant for EILF sooner
or later.</li>
<li><b>Target Management</b> (<a href=""></a>)
could potentially be utilized for the administration and monitoring of an EILF
installation that is deployed to distributed servers.</li>
<li><b>Rich Ajax Platform</b> (<a href=""></a>)
addresses more the client part but nevertheless can become relevant for
the implementation of EILF clients.</li>
<li><b>SOA Tools</b>
(<a href=""></a>) as
well as <b>Swordfish</b> (<a href=""></a>)
both appear to be relevant when it comes to the service architecture of EILF.</li>
<li><b>TPTP</b> (<a href=""></a>) very
likely will be used for performance measurements and monitoring purposes.</li>
<h3>User Community</h3>
<p>EILF aims at delivering a de facto standard
in the IAM area. Consequently, an active community providing solid feedback is
essential. This includes a community of developers active in different areas
(architecture, IAM components, UIs) as well as potential users of EILF who
implement specific IAM systems.</p>
<h3>Tentative Plan</h3>
<h4>2008-03 Version 0.5</h4>
<li>Basic architecture settled and
<li>Simple search application available at
least on demonstrator level</li>
<h4>2008-06 Version 0.6</h4>
<li>More components available e.g. supporting
the integration of linguistic preprocessing</li>
<li>More data sources accessible</li>
<h4>2008-10 Version 1.0 – Release 1.0</h4>
<li>Orchestration of components / services </li>
<li>Sample application</li>
<li>Documentation and related material</li>
<li>Full support of the OSGI architecture
<h4>2009-03 Version 1.5</h4>
<li>Improved support of Semantic Web
features, ontologies etc.</li>
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