Integrating existing relational databases with ontology-based systems is among the important research problems for the Semantic Web. We have designed a comprehensive framework called OntoGrate which combines a highly automatic mapping system, a logic inference engine, and several syntax wrappers that inter-operate with consistent semantics to answer ontology-based queries using the data from heterogeneous databases. There are several major contributions of our OntoGrate research: (i) we designed an ontology-based framework that provides a unified semantics for mapping discovery and query translation by transforming database schemas to Semantic Web ontologies; (ii) we developed a highly automatic ontology mapping system which leverages object reconciliation and multi-relational data mining techniques; (iii) we developed an inference-based query translation algorithm and several syntax wrappers which can translate queries and answers between relational databases and the Semantic Web. The testing results of our implemented OntoGrate system in different domains show that the large amount of data in relational databases can be directly utilized for answering Semantic Web queries rather than first converting all relational data into RDF or OWL.

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