I am immersed in graph databases

Originally published November 2, 2013

I am old school: most of my data storage requirements used to be well met with Postgres. Now most of what I work with is graph databases of one form or another:

This morning I was in my office at Google working on a Knowledge Graph schema (yeah, I know it is Saturday, so it goes...) and now that I am back "home" (*) this afternoon, I am working on a technical review for the book Neo4j In Action - Neo4j is a very fine open source (and commercial) graph database. Last night I was reviewing third party developer documentation for Facebook's Open Graph, Wolfram Alpha, and the still publicly available Freebase APIs. This is all for my "after Google" project that I have planned for later next year, if my plans don't change.

I don't usually put long quotes from other people in my blog, but I saw something early this morning that really resonated with me: Darin Stewart's blog at Gartner discussing Google's Knowledge Graph and their business:

With a few tools, some semantic know-how and a bit of elbow grease, you could create your own knowledge graph that integrated these public sources with your own internal, proprietary data. The biotech and intelligence industries have been doing it for years.

I think he hits on a huge new area of semantic web and linked data business that I think follows a natural evolutionary progression in IT: businesses with separate siloed and separate IT systems --> some use of master data systems to tie disparate business units together --> complete integration of internal systems with external public data sources. Ideally this should be done using semantic web techniques like Ontologies and controlled vocabularies for all sources of data and supported by standardized (for a specific business or organization) UIs for users so they don't suffer from cognitive disconnect as they use multi-sourced data.

(*) In some sense of "home": my wife and I did not want to completely move to Mountain View for my current consulting gig so we are staying long term in a suite at a Residence Inn - which I recommend, BTW, if you need to live away from home for a long while but don't feel like moving.


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