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Book Review: Semantics in Business Systems

Dave McComb's book is both interesting and depressing - having read it you are amazed any information system ever works! It's a little like reading "The Design of Every Day Things" or "The Mythical Man Month". They are great books but they make you annoyed at the world at the same time by drawing attention to its imperfections. Dave's book discusses semantics, how too little attention is paid to semantics in business sytems, and how this might be rectified. Having danced around the edges of formal semantics, ontologies and so on I found this book a great introduction. There were some nice bits to it, including one of my favorite quotes:

"Information is data that changes you"

Great quote - very much the attitude here at EDM-central where taking action, not just understanding data, is the order of the day. I liked the focus on business rules as a crucial component in a system and a viable way of managing some of the semantic content effectively. I have not explicitly tried to use an ontology to reduce the complexity of the rules as Dave suggests but it sounds like a reasonable approach. His chapter on semantic elicitation was also good and would serve as a quick overview of how to find business rules also.

I don't know if the semantic web as currently envisioned will take off but, having read this, I am certainly more aware of the role of semantics in all this. Nice book and you can buy the book here.

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