The concept of machine automated data exchange is certainly a road that is ever changing course, with many paths splitting off going in this direction or that. Among the many “standards” that evolve it is sometimes hard to discern which paths to follow, and which will end up in a dead-end. Our own Daniela Barbosa participates in many discussions around data portability and can certainly attest to this.
In the development of Synaptica, we have traditionally sought out a policy of trying to be as technically agnostic as we can, leaving things as open ended as possible when it comes to data import and export to allow free and open exchange with external applications and other consumers of taxonomies, thesauri and other types of controlled vocabularies.
One set of standards that we have adopted over the last couple of years are RDF, OWL and SKOS from the W3. As we saw these schema take hold as accepted throughout the industry we made a conscious decision to work them into our application and we now allow import and export in those formats, among others.
As ideas around data exchange and portability continue to evolve, one thing we are keeping our eye on is the development of micro-formats, such as FOAF and RDFa. It will be interesting to see how these new methods are expanded and adopted over time. We will certainly be keeping an eye out for ways to expand our current product offerings to keep in step with the latest developments. Who knows, you may be seeing them as standard input / output formats available from Synaptica in the near future. And as always, we will strive to keep the exchange of data as free and open as possible.