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Normally the ETL maps to load a fact table will load the rows and lookup surrogate keys for the referenced dimension members. In OWB you can do this using the lookup operator, and if youy use the OWB smart components such as cube and dimension this is what happens under the covers. There are a whole bunch of complexities handled by the cube/dimension operators that alleviate a lot of grunt work from the ETL developer.
You can look at the blog post here for some background on those operators;