Open standards consortium, OASIS, has initiated a new effort aimed at standardizing semantic search and content analytics. The work of the OASIS Unstructured Information Management Architecture (UIMA) Technical Committee will advance a common method for meaningfully accessing data contained in text such as emails, blog entries, news feeds and notes as well as in audio recordings, images and video. The OASIS work will be complemented by an Apache Software Foundation incubator project for developing UIMA-based open source software.

"UIMA will enable the productive use of content that exists as natural language text, speech, and video - information created by humans for humans to understand," explained David A. Ferrucci of IBM, convener of the OASIS UIMA Technical Committee. "By assigning semantics to this content, UIMA will allow information to be exploited by database management systems, information retrieval systems and other traditional application infrastructure."

OASIS will refine and finalize a set of UIMA specifications based on an initial contribution from IBM with input from DARPA, Carnegie Mellon University, Columbia University, Stanford University, University of Massachusetts-Amherst, MITRE Corporation, and Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC).

"Our goal is to define a platform-independent specification that supports the interoperability, discovery, and composition of analytics across modalities, domain models, and frameworks," noted Eric Nyberg, associate professor at the School of Computer Science, Carnegie Mellon University. "By enabling enterprises to access the intelligence contained in their unstructured information, UIMA will empower organizations to uncover relationships, identify patterns and predict outcomes."

"Dynamic discovery and negotiation of diverse content and smart consumption, will be essential 21st-century processing skills. UIMA offers an exciting solution," observed James Bryce Clark, director of standards development at OASIS. "We're pleased to see another instance of the virtuous circle between complementary open standards and open source development projects. An open standard will permit multiple devices and implementations to talk to each other about multi-modal information; the open source project will help a broad range of users take advantage of the growing global body of multimodal content and analytics."

The OASIS UIMA Technical Committee will operate under the Royalty Free on Limited Terms mode, as defined by the OASIS Intellectual Property Rights Policy. Participation in the Committee remains open to all companies, non-profit groups, governments, academic institutions, and individuals. As with all OASIS projects, archives of the Committee's work will be accessible to both members and non-members, and OASIS will host an open mail list for public comment.

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