Search Engines and their Impact on Data Warehouses

Search Engines and their Impact on Data Warehouses

Hadrian Peter (University of the West Indies, Barbados)
Copyright: © 2009 |Pages: 8
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-010-3.ch263
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Abstract

Over the past ten years or so data warehousing has emerged as a new technology in the database environment. “A data warehouse is a global repository that stores pre-processed queries on data which resides in multiple, possibly heterogeneous, operational or legacy sources” (Samtani et al, 2004). Data warehousing as a specialized field is continuing to grow and mature. Despite the phenomenal upgrades in terms of data storage capability there has been a flood of new streams of data entering the warehouse. During the last decade there has been an increase from 1 terabyte to 100 terabyte and, soon to be 1 petabyte, environments. Therefore, the ability to search, mine and analyze data of such immense proportions remains a significant issue even as analytical capabilities increase. The data warehouse is an environment which is readily tuned to maximize the efficiency of making useful decisions. However the advent of commercial uses of the Internet on a large scale has opened new possibilities for data capture and integration into the warehouse. While most of the data necessary for a data warehouse originates from the organization’s internal (operational) data sources, additional data is available externally that can add significant value to the data warehouse. One of the major reasons why organizations implement data warehousing is to make it easier, on a regular basis, to query and report data from multiple transaction processing systems and/or from external sources. One important source of this external data is the Internet. A few researchers (Walters, 1997; Strand & Olsson, 2004; Strand & Wangler, 2004) have investigated the possibility of incorporating external data in data warehouses, however, there is little literature detailing research in which the Internet is the source of the external data. In (Peter & Greenidge, 2005) a high-level model, the Data Warehousing Search Engine (DWSE), was presented. However, in this article we examine in some detail the issues in search engine technology that make the Internet a plausible and reliable source for external data. As John Ladley (Ladley, 2005) states “There is a new generation of Data Warehousing on the horizon that reflects maturing technology and attitudes”. Our long-term goal is to design this new generation Data Warehouse.
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Introduction

Over the past ten years or so data warehousing has emerged as a new technology in the database environment. “A data warehouse is a global repository that stores pre-processed queries on data which resides in multiple, possibly heterogeneous, operational or legacy sources” (Samtani et al, 2004).

Data warehousing as a specialized field is continuing to grow and mature. Despite the phenomenal upgrades in terms of data storage capability there has been a flood of new streams of data entering the warehouse. During the last decade there has been an increase from 1 terabyte to 100 terabyte and, soon to be 1 petabyte, environments. Therefore, the ability to search, mine and analyze data of such immense proportions remains a significant issue even as analytical capabilities increase.

The data warehouse is an environment which is readily tuned to maximize the efficiency of making useful decisions. However the advent of commercial uses of the Internet on a large scale has opened new possibilities for data capture and integration into the warehouse.

While most of the data necessary for a data warehouse originates from the organization’s internal (operational) data sources, additional data is available externally that can add significant value to the data warehouse. One of the major reasons why organizations implement data warehousing is to make it easier, on a regular basis, to query and report data from multiple transaction processing systems and/or from external sources. One important source of this external data is the Internet.

A few researchers (Walters, 1997; Strand & Olsson, 2004; Strand & Wangler, 2004) have investigated the possibility of incorporating external data in data warehouses, however, there is little literature detailing research in which the Internet is the source of the external data. In (Peter & Greenidge, 2005) a high-level model, the Data Warehousing Search Engine (DWSE), was presented. However, in this article we examine in some detail the issues in search engine technology that make the Internet a plausible and reliable source for external data. As John Ladley (Ladley, 2005) states “There is a new generation of Data Warehousing on the horizon that reflects maturing technology and attitudes”. Our long-term goal is to design this new generation Data Warehouse.

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Background

Data warehousing methodologies are concerned with the collection, organization and analysis of data taken from several heterogeneous sources, all aimed at augmenting end-user business function (Berson & Smith, 1997; Wixom & Watson, 2001; Inmon, 2003). Central to the use of heterogeneous data sources is the challenge to extract, clean and load data from a variety of operational sources. External data is key to business function and decision-making, and typically includes sources of information such as newspapers, magazines, trade publications, personal contacts and news releases.

In the case where external data is being used in addition to data taken from disparate operational sources, this external data will require a cleaning/merge/purge process to be applied to guarantee consistency (Higgins, 2003; Walters, 1997). The Web represents a large and growing source of external data but is notorious for the presence of bad, unauthorized or otherwise irregular data (Kim, 2003). Thus the need for cleaning and integrity checking activities increases when the web is being used to gather external data.

External data has the following advantages (Strand & Olsson, 2004) and disadvantages (Strand & Wangler, 2004):

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