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Toward an RDF/OWL Representation of a Financial Report

It is slow going, but progress is being made toward achieving an RDF/OWL representation of a financial report. If you are interested in this you may want to follow the Semantic XBRL group on LinkedIn.  Here is information helpful to this process.

  1. Financial report in XBRL: This is what I call a reference implementationof a SEC-type XBRL-based financial report.  To convert the XBRL technical syntax to OWL, the first step is to convert the XBRL technical syntax to the semantics of the report.
  2. Semantics of financial report (Model Structure and Fact Table):  The XBRL instance and XBRL Taxonomy are converted from a syntactic representation into a semantic representation.  There are two primary parts: the model structure which articulates the relations between the pieces of a report and the fact table which is the information contained in the financial report.  Here are human readable versions of the model structure and fact tables.
  3. Initial target, the fact table:  While there is really a lot that needs to be converted to OWL in addition to the model structure and fact tables, such as business rules; but the initial conversion target is just the fact table.  Once that is done, other parts can be built out in OWL.  To help visualize this, I wrote an Excel macro which imported the fact table. So this is the information which should be converted to RDF/OWL expressed in Excel (within a ZIP archive).
  4. TopQuadrant "table" model:  If you look at the Excel spreadsheet in #3, you will notice that the fact tables of a financial report fit nicely into an Excel spreadsheet.  TopQuadrant built a little OWL ontology that can be used to represent information that fits into a spreadsheet.  Here is that OWL ontology.
  5. Initial attempt at RDF:  This is an initial attempt at getting the fact table information into the proper RDF/OWL format. This is pitiful I know, but it is progress.
  6. Semantics of a financial report:  This is the most succinct explanation of the semantics of a financial report that I have at this point: Understanding the Mechanics of an SEC-type XBRL-based Digital Financial Report.  I know it is probably not suscint enough yet, but it is getting where it needs to be.
  7. Key semantics and spreadsheet analogy:  So this is my thinking. Just like a Workbook has spreadsheets, spreadsheets have rows, and rows have columns in the TopQuadrant representation; in a financial report a report has components (similar to how workbook has sheets), components have facts (similar to how spreadsheets have rows), and fact has aspects (similar to how rows have columns).

Perhaps it is misguided, but that is my thinking.  Got a better idea?  Post it to the Semantic XBRL group.

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