On August 8th, IBM took the covers off of UIMA (Unstructured Information Management Architecture) and pledged to make the framework available to the open source community. For those unfamiliar with the latest IBM acronym, UIMA makes it easier for a variety of text and multimedia management applications (e.g., knowledge management, search and text mining) to work together by defining interoperability standards. At first blush, UIMA may seem only distantly related to business intelligence. True, its fundamental focus - unstructured data, rather than structured data - is a different universe. But UIMA will be a significant generator of data for BI to analyze in the coming years. As such, it's worthwhile to have a fundamental understanding of UIMA, and what the technology can do.

First of all, UIMA is a specification, not a product per se, although IBM has already used it within WebSphere Information Integrator OmniFind Edition. (Given that IBM developed the spec, it's not surprising that they beat everyone else to implementing it.) The UIMA Java-based SDK is available from IBM's alphaWorks Web site.

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