Babelfish: Service Integration in Heterogeneous Environments

Alluding to the project name, Babelfish comes from Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams. Babelfish is a small yellow fish that when placed in someone’s ear translates any language into their first language. This project proposes to describe services on a technical, semantic, and governance layer and will implement a component that uses such descriptions to translate interfaces (APIs), data, and data agreements from a foreign (and maybe proprietary format) to an interoperable format understood by the recipient. A registry maintains a list of all services and thus spans up an interoperable data space.

A concrete application area for Babelfish is in Supply Chain Management (SCM) to integrate data sources from stakeholders along the value chain. This approach creates a common data space and enables a circular economy where relevant data is shared between actors in a trustworthy and traceable way. 

The building blocks to build a common data space are (i) Semantic Container (SemCon) for technical interoperability - enabling to connect APIs and handling authentication as well as processing aspects; (ii) Semantic Overlay Architecture (SOyA) for data harmonisation - using RDF and JSON-LD for data model management and aligning & transforming data models on the fly; (iii) Data Agreements - covering data governance, tracking provenance metadata and act as usage policies between services describing rules for the use of data. These building blocks can use either decentralised SSI technologies (DIDs, VCs) to ensure immutability in a trustless environment or connect to available trust anchors on traditional client server architectures.

Website: https://www.ownyourdata.eu/babelfish 




Motivation for the project:

The main motivation for Babelfish is integrating services and (external) applications in the ONTOCHAIN ecosystem. It will provide a gateway to bridge the interoperability gab on the technical, semantic, and governance layer.

Generic use case description:

Babelfish provides authentication, authorization, and integration functionalities enabling heterogeneous entities to form a data space. This functionality will be demonstrated using a concreate application in supply chain management.

Essential functionalities:

The main functionalities include (i) a Gateway API for services and applications, (ii) data model management to align ontologies, and (iii) ensure governance through Data Agreements.

How these functionalities can be integrated within the software ecosystem:

Babelfish provides the functionalities to integrate services and (external) applications that want to join the ONTOCHAIN environment.

Gap being addressed:

It enables interoperability on technical (API), semantic (data model alignment), and governance (data agreements) layer and ensures integration being trustworthy, reproducible, and decentralized.

Expected benefits achieved with the novel technology building blocks:

Through the Babelfish solution we will make onboarding for new services and applications simpler & faster, allow participants to tap into new data sources more easily, and enable tighter integration for available services and applications.

Potential demonstration scenario:

A core element of our project is to demonstrate integrating stakeholders in supply chain management. We will show how additional information (e.g. a rail transport label for goods) can be made available.





Babelfish describes services on a technical, semantic, and governance layer and implements a component that uses such descriptions to translate interfaces, data, and governance from a foreign (and maybe proprietary format) to an interoperable format understood by the recipient.




GitHub: https://github.com/OwnYourData/


Currently open to the ONTOCHAIN community only. Reach out if you need access.






In the course of Open Call #3 our proposal 'Babelfish' was selected to establish a Gateway API for the NGI ONTOCHAIN Ecosystem, and it has been a great success, exceeding our expectations. In a collaborative endeavour, the teams from OwnYourData and Kybernos, with the invaluable support from the ONTOCHAIN participants, have demonstrated an exceptional level of dedication and expertise. Their meticulous approach to developing the Gateway API, coupled with their rigorous testing protocols and insightful implementation strategies, has been truly remarkable. They have successfully engineered a robust and reliable API, which now serves as an indispensable component of the NGI ONTOCHAIN Ecosystem. The success of the project is evident in its widespread adoption. More than a dozen projects are now using the Gateway API, and about 20 services have registered so far. This is a testament to the team's technical prowess, their understanding of the ecosystem, and their ability to deliver solutions that meet the needs of the users.



Christoph Fabianek

Christoph Fabianek

Christoph Fabianek (male) (PhD, MSc, MBA) is senior lead scientist at Frequentis and chairman of OwnYourData. MyData Global Board Member and Editor of MyData Weekly Digest.


Sebastian Haas

Sebastian Haas

Sebastian Haas (male) (MSc) is managing partner at Kybernos and ESG expert with a focus on supply chain management, freight transport networks and circular economy.



Gabriel Unterholzer

Gabriel Unterholzer

Gabriel Unterholzer (male) is a software developer with experience in web and cross-platform development and accessibility.



Fajar Juang Ekaputra

Fajar Juang Ekaputra

Fajar Juang Ekaputra (male) (PhD, MSc) is a postdoctoral researcher at TU Wien with focus on semantic web, data integration, and knowledge change management. 



Jan Lindquist

Jan Lindquist 

Jan Lindquist (male) (BSc) is a privacy expert and data governance specialist, member of the Swedish Institute for Standards, ISO Swedish expert on information security. 


Reinhold Bierbaumer

Reinhold Bierbaumer 

Reinhold Bierbaumer (male) (MSc) is managing partner at Kybernos with a track record in scheme creation for the health sector and the transport sector in Austria.




Verein zur Förderung der selbstständigen Nutzung von Daten (OwnYourData)

OwnYourData is a non-profit association and helps you to achieve unrestricted access to your data for your benefit.




Kybernos ESG Data Services GmbH

We are consultants and data entrepreneurs co-creating EU data spaces with focus on the Horizon Europe Cluster 5 Climate, Energy & Mobility and cluster 6 topics Food, Bioeconomy, Natural Resources, Agriculture and Environment.