There are many uses for the Common Information Model (CIM), an ontology that is being standardized through Technical Committee 57 of the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC TC57). The most common uses to date have included application modeling, information exchanges, information management and systems integration. As one should expect, there are many issues that become apparent when the CIM ontology is applied to any one use. Some of these issues are shortcomings within the current draft of the CIM, and others are a consequence of the different ways in which the CIM can be applied using different technologies. As the CIM ontology will and should evolve, there are several dangers that need to be recognized. One is overall consistency and impact upon applications when extending the CIM for a specific need. Another is that a tight coupling of the CIM to specific technologies could limit the value of the CIM in the longer term as an ontology, which becomes a larger issue over time as new technologies emerge. The integration of systems is one specific area of interest for application of the CIM ontology. This is an area dominated by the use of XML for the definition of messages. While this is certainly true when using Enterprise Application Integration (EAI) products, it is even more true with the movement towards the use of Web Services (WS), Service- Oriented Architectures (SOA) and Enterprise Service Buses (ESB) for integration. This general IT industry trend is consistent with trends seen within the IEC TC57 scope of power system management and associated information exchange. The challenge for TC57 is how to best leverage the CIM ontology using the various XML technologies and standards for integration. This paper will provide examples of how the CIM ontology is used and describe some specific issues that should be addressed within the CIM in order to increase its usefulness as an ontology. It will also describe some of the issues and challenges that will be faced as the CIM ontology is leveraged for integration purposes by IEC TC57 standards.
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