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The Research Issues: Using Integrated Multiple Data Sources

This research examines the following questions:

  • Why integrate multiple data sources?
  • What are the benefits of integrating multiple data sources for enterprise-level planning and decision making?

Accessing to the accurate information in a timely manner is a significant challenge facing organizations today. For example, a police officer needs to know if a suspect is wanted in another jurisdiction; A social worker needs to ensure that a welfare applicant is not already receiving benefits elsewhere; A judge needs to see all prior convictions against an offender (McKenna,1996). These and countless other situations require rapid access to a wide range of complete and accurate information that is often scattered across numerous agencies (McKenna, 1996). However, the problem is that many agencies build information "silos" which are poorly accessible within their own organizations, let alone to the related departments outside the organization. Besides, many agencies seem to have a "genetically encoded political and cultural aversion to information sharing and cooperation, operating instead as isolated fiefdoms or, at best, as grudging partners" (McKenna, 1996).

There has been a spectacular explosion in the quantity of data available in electronic formats in the past few decades. This huge amount of data has been gathered, organized, and stored by a small number of individuals, working for different organizations on varied problems (Subrahmanian, et al., 1996). In light of the ever increasing volume of data, and the expected benefits of integrating the data, a framework for performing integration over multiple data sources is necessary.