A “vocabulary of vocabularies” with tools for users

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Car, Nick; Cox, Simon ORCID ID icon; Frazier, Jane; Benn, David ORCID ID icon; Yu, Jonathan ORCID ID icon


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eResearch Australasia 2015, Brisbane, 19 - 23 October, 2015


Well-organized sets of terms and concept hierarchies play an important role in information interoperability. Shared vocabularies and formal domain ontologies are used by specialized teams within domain models, and by data owners and publishing houses to classify and mark-up datasets and papers. Use of shared vocabularies reduces ambiguity in data and provides for more effective human and machine discovery and use. Systems such as the Simple Knowledge Organization System (SKOS)[1] are well known and widely used to represent related concepts within a domain. SKOS formalization allows for hierarchical term relations (“broader” and “narrower” concepts), term synonyms, language variants, description, ownership and management metadata. SKOS vocabularies for a particular domain can be built by a domain expert with instruction in the methods of SKOS formalization. It can be difficult to build a vocabulary with appropriate term granularity. For example, if a marine biologist creates a vocabulary containing terms listing ocean fauna including one for “skate” and another for “sharks”, this will not be sufficiently detailed for a person specializing in skate classification who wishes to differentiate the False Argus Skate from Heald’s Skate. Even where comprehensive vocabularies of appropriate granularity for a particular task have been created, it is likely that a) multiple domain experts will be required to maintain different portions of a large vocabulary and b) the vocabulary’s uses will grow with time if it is initially useful. These points ensure granularity issues will eventually arise. Using even comprehensive and well maintained vocabularies in other systems can be difficult for the non-semantic web engineer. For this reason, we have developed a prototype tool that delivers terms relating to science keywords via a standard web page widget that many web developers, without specific knowledge of formal vocabularies, can use. The tool is delivered online at http://scikey.org.

eResearch Australasia

vocabularies SKOS keywords semantic web taxonomies web services ontologies

Data Structures; Conceptual Modelling ; Information Engineering and Theory

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Conference Paper - Refereed


Car, Nick; Cox, Simon; Frazier, Jane; Benn, David; Yu, Jonathan. A “vocabulary of vocabularies” with tools for users. In: eResearch Australasia 2015; 19 - 23 October, 2015; Brisbane. eResearch Australasia; 2015. 3. <a href="http://hdl.handle.net/102.100.100/91658?index=1" target="_blank">http://hdl.handle.net/102.100.100/91658?index=1</a>

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