Single meta data standard goal of OMG, MDC

Two separate standards groups, the Meta Data Coalition (MDC) and the Object Management Group (OMG), have agreed to take on the daunting task of developing a single set of standards for meta data.

The two groups have already begun working toward establishing a single set of meta data standards -- the first working session between them took place at the OMG Technical Meeting in Philadelphia in March. Meta data is information about enterprise data.

Under the agreement, announced last week, the MDC is now a "platform" member of the OMG, and the OMG is a member of the MDC. Despite this agreement, however, some analysts question the pair's ability to succeed in establishing a standard in what is considered a highly proprietary market.

"Essentially ... you're not going to have one standard; you're going to have competing, proprietary meta data standards centred around the Oracle world, the Microsoft world, or the IBM world," said David Downing, vice president of marketing at Informatica, in Palo Alto, California.

In fact, Downing continued, it could be Extensible Markup Language (XML), and not a standard developed by the two groups, that ultimately unifies meta data.

"XML is probably going to become the unified standard for specifying and unifying meta data across repositories, solving some of these proprietary battles going on between Oracle, Microsoft, and IBM," Downing said. "Ideally, there will be a standard XML specification."

The Meta Data Coalition, in Austin, Texas, is at www.mdcinfo.com. The Object Management Group, in Framingham, is at www.omg.org.

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