Ontology Dynamics in a Data Life Cycle: Challenges and Recommendations from a Geoscience Perspective

Ontologies are increasingly deployed as a computer-accessible representation of key semantics in various parts of a data life cycle and, thus, ontology dynamics may pose challenges to data management and re-use. By using examples in the field of geosciences, we analyze challenges raised by ontology dynamics, such as heavy reworking of data, semantic heterogeneity among data providers and users, and error propagation in cross-discipline data discovery and re-use. We also make recommendations to address these challenges: (1) communities of practice on ontologies to re- duce inconsistency and duplicated efforts; (2) use ontologies in the procedure of data collection and make them accessible to data users; and (3) seek methods to speed up the reworking of data in a Semantic Web context.

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The Tetherless World Constellation (TWC) at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) proposes to facilitate the vocabulary and ontology development within the context of the overall development of semantic prototypes for the National Climate Assessment (NCA) portals using a combination of environmental inter-agency collaborations in a use-case focused workshop setting, information modeling, and software developments and deployments.