Generic Interoperability Framework

Sergey Melnik, Digital Libraries Project, Database Group, Stanford University

The new release of GINF is under preparation, stay tuned! New features include:

  • Updated RDF parser (SiRPAC) capable of reading data from stream (can handle very large data sets like the Open Directory) — prerelease available for download!
  • GINF has been coupled with the SiLRI interence engine (thanks to Stefan Decker)
  • SQL database interface for storing and accessing RDF models (see the discussion on Storing RDF in relational databases)
  • Declarative mediation environment: support for a set of declarative languages for data conversion and protocol translation will be included in the next distribution.
Find out more about the upcoming features in the technical report (Dec 01).

Note that the information below is somewhat outdated.


The Generic Interoperability Framework (GINF) has been developed to facilitate integration of heterogeneous components. One of the main principles it employs is the generic representation of protocols, languages, data and interface descriptions. The current implementation of the framework is based on RDF. The implementation of GINF provides semantic-oriented middleware for application development and integration. GINF middleware allows creating open and highly extensible client/server applications. It is available for download.
  1. Overview (very abstract)
  2. Slides
  3. GINF middleware (description of the current implementation, under construction)
  4. RDF schema implementation in GINF
  5. Application to Digital Libraries. Examples of XML serialization of RDF models in the "Application" document.
  6. The Resource Description Framework (RDF) homepage
  7. A set-theoretical model for RDF

Current status

GINF middleware is highly experimental, interfaces are subject to evolution. It is still not stable enough for broad usage, therefore the documentation provided is sketchy. Look at the sources for more information.

Currently, its usability is being evaluated using the following Stanford Digital Library testbed applications:

  1. WebBase Streamer: Stanford WebBase stores a significant part of the WWW in fulltext. Making this data available for data miners is a topic of active research. We're designing and testing GINF-based interfaces for streaming and multicasting the collected Web data.
  2. Digital Library search: we consider how the concepts and interactions of the SDLIP protocol can be modeled within GINF.
  3. Protocol / interface specifications using finite state automata (FSM): we design a vocabulary for machine-readable generalized FSM specifications that can be used to automatically generate components conformant to the protocol/interface. We also consider automatic protocol translations.

Software download

The Java library includes following features:
  • RDF parser: a modified version of SiRPAC using XML parser AElfred
  • RDF serializer
  • RDF model interface
  • RDF schema validation
  • HTTP protocol mapping [TCP/IP temporarily unavailable]
Please keep in mind that the interfaces and the HTTP mapping are still very experimental and are subject to changes.
This program is free software; you can redistribute it and/or modify it under the terms of the GNU General Public License as published by the Free Software Foundation.

The javadoc-generated documentation and installation instructions are available online, but are is also included in the distribution. More comprehensive documentation is in preparation (check out GINF middleware).

This release (July 13, 1999) contains a number of bugfixes and a new demo application (search server and client from the demo below). (307K) or ginf-1.1a.tar.gz (190K)

Have a look at current issues.

Please send comments, bug reports and suggestions to

Schemas / ontologies:

(Please not that the schemas below are still under construction. HTML descriptions of some of the schemas are still not available)


  • Live wire to a search server implementation.
  • The data on which the server operates.
  • Example of a client interface to the server. This is a signed applet so you have to import a certificate to run it. Runs with Netscape Communicator only.
  • Example of a canonical wrapper interface for a real-time wind condition service in the Bay Area (temporarily offline)

Sergey Melnik. Last change: Dec 02, 1999