Published: Nov 1993
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The major difficulty in transferring materials property information among database systems is the conceptual mismatch of the sending and receiving systems, between the ways in which (1) materials are designated and (2) properties are defined. The second major difficulty is that the two systems usually represent relationships between data and metadata  using different conventions. Third are the relatively minor technical problems of agreeing text or binary file formats, which relate names of terms to their values, and which represent numbers, symbols, units, and text. There are organizational problems of agreeing which and what kind of information should be transferred, what pricing scheme to use, determining who should pay for the development of translator software, and determining how it should be sold or distributed. These are even more problematic in practice than the technical issues. Transfer of all technical data has certain things in common with respect to scope, software, and organization.
Senior software manager, Quillon Systems Ltd., Cambridge,