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Semantic web technologies have quickly penetrated all areas of traditional and new database systems and have become the de facto standard in information exchange and communication. The Royal Society of Chemistry has built a new chemistry data repository with the semantic web at the core of the system. Every module of the data repository contains a semantic web layer and is able to interact internally and externally using standard approaches and formats including RDF, appropriate ontologies, SPARQL querying and so on. In this presentation we will review the challenges associated with developing this new system based on semantic web technologies and how the approach that we have taken offers distinct advantages over the original data model designed to produce the ChemSpider database. Its advantages include extensibility, an ontological underpinning, federated integration and the adoption of modern standards rather than the constraints of a standard SQL model.