IPM Coalition

integrated pest management

Interoperability

In simple terms, interoperability is the ability to join up data from different sources in a standardised and contextualised way. However, it is about more than just the form and structure of data, it is also about solving problems in a joined-up way. Interoperability can help reduce the time, effort and expense exerted on data collection; eliminate the frustration and risks associated with handling inconsistent and incomplete data; and meet the need for internationally comparable, sustainable, disaggregated data to ensure that no one is left behind.

In technical terms, interoperability is the ability to access and process machine-readable data from multiple sources, sometimes automatically, without that data losing meaning or integrity. Technology standards are key enablers of interoperability. Collectively, they allow different system components to be integrated and to work together seamlessly. At the technical level, data interoperability requires ‘syntactic interoperability’, which is based on the widespread adoption of standard data formats, and the implementation of application programming interfaces (APIs) and connectors that allow data from multiple sources to be accessed and integrated. Crucially, interoperability also requires data and information to be exchanged across systems without its context and meaning being lost; in other words, there is need for ‘semantic interoperability’ across data systems. Semantic interoperability refers to how data items are described and mapped across different information systems in order to minimise ambiguity and ensure the adequate interpretation of individual data items. In this context, developing common vocabularies and classifications is crucial, for instance, to join up geospatial and statistical datasets. For the lay user, perhaps the most important form of data interoperability is ‘search interoperability’ which enables a user to conduct queries across two or more collections of data, most often through the World Wide Web.

Source: http://www.publishwhatyoufund.org

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