Oracle has staked its claim to leadership in the enterprise side of the emerging semantic web space, saying that more than 100 commercial and open source applications are using its version of the technology.

According to Bob Shimp, vice president for Oracle's global technology business unit, all of these developers are building Java extensions to their applications that can store data in Oracle Database 10g using the Resource Description Framework (RDF) natively supported by 10g Enterprise Edition.

RDF is a World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) specification offering a structured way to store metadata. That information can be used to describe attributes about data, such as on which database it is stored.

Metatomix is using Oracle Database 10g to store RDF-formatted information in order to speed up its own semantic software, according to Colin Britton, chief technology officer at the US-based company. Metatomix's software allows companies to easily discover new data types and changes, making recalculations in one application after sensing changes in another, Britton said. That is something that today typically requires programmers to hand-code changes to their existing business software.

Britton said Metatomix's software complements master data management (MDM) systems by adding better real-time discovery of data.

For one customer, French airline company Airbus SAS, Metatomix has automatically discovered the business and process rules in designing a plane – if it discovers a design change by one engineer at his computer-aided design and manufacturing workstation, it can then go ahead and automatically calculate the overall design and financial implications, Britton said. That normally requires face-to-face meetings or the sharing of Excel spreadsheets, he said.

Metatomix's software ranges from $100,000 (£50,322) to "well into the seven figures," according to chief executive Jeff Dickerson. Most of Metatomix's existing customers already use Oracle database technologies.

Other software vendors in Oracle's semantic web ecosystem include TopQuadrant and Siderean Software, which offer enterprise search software.