Often a database user has no idea, nor do they want to know, how the data are stored and structured:
The user wants to be able to think about the data in terms they are familiar with, not the database terms:
SDBA acts as a mediator between data bases and the user. It is based on a model of the user's application domain and uses terms and concepts of that model to communicate with the user. Navigating the data base is through the domain model rather than the data model. In addition, the system provides a fuzzy matching capability allowing imprecise queries to be formulated:
SDBA can be used for accessing different data bases and it has been used in different domains. It has evolved from work done on the PEXES project.
The aim of PEXES was to provide support for accessing data bases without requiring specialist data base skills. PEXES (the Petroleum Exploration Expert System) was developed in the SDBA framework for the domain of exploration geology. The system was applied to the problem of finding analogues of geological basins for petroleum explorationists. As a first step towards supporting a geologist in this task, a data base browser was implemented and successfully connected to three different geological data bases, two containing information about geological basins and one about wells. The project was developed by Simon Petroleum Technology and AIAI, with funding from the Petroleum Science and Technology Institute, Amoco, Conoco and the UK Offshore Supplies Office.The software runs on Unix workstations running X under Motif. For more information contact AIAI at: tel: +44 (31) 650 2732 fax: +44 (31) 650 6513 email: AIAI@ed.ac.uk