Ontology Development for Provenance Tracing in National Climate Assessment of the US Global Change Research Program

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The periodical National Climate Assessment (NCA) of the US Global Change Research Program (USGCRP) [1] produces reports about findings of global climate change and the impacts of climate change on the United States. Those findings are of great public and academic concerns and are used in policy and management decisions, which make the provenance information of findings in those reports especially important. The USGCRP is developing a Global Change Information System (GCIS), in which the NCA reports and associated provenance information are the primary records.

We were modeling and developing Semantic Web applications for the GCIS. By applying a use case-driven iterative methodology [2], we developed an ontology [3] to represent the content structure of a report and the associated provenance information. We also mapped the classes and properties in our ontology into the W3C PROV-O ontology [4] to realize the formal presentation of provenance. We successfully implemented the ontology in several pilot systems for a recent National Climate Assessment report (i.e., the NCA3). They provide users the functionalities to browse and search provenance information with topics of interest. Provenance information of the NCA3 has been made structured and interoperable by applying the developed ontology. Besides the pilot systems we developed, other tools and services are also able to interact with the data in the context of the "Web of data" and thus create added values.

Our research shows that the use case-driven iterative method bridges the gap between Semantic Web researchers and earth and environmental scientists and is able to be deployed rapidly for developing Semantic Web applications. Our work also provides first-hand experience for re-using the W3C PROV-O ontology in the field of earth and environmental sciences, as the PROV-O ontology is recently ratified (on 04/30/2013) by the W3C as a recommendation and relevant applications are still rare.

[1] http://www.globalchange.gov [2] Fox, P., McGuinness, D.L., 2008. TWC Semantic Web Methodology. Accessible at: http://tw.rpi.edu/web/doc/TWC_SemanticWebMethodology [3] https://scm.escience.rpi.edu/svn/public/projects/gcis/trunk/rdf/schema/GCISOntology.ttl [4] http://www.w3.org/TR/prov-o/


DateCreated ByLink
December 5, 2013
Xiaogang MaDownload

Related Projects:

Global Change Information System: Information Model and Semantic Application Prototypes (GCIS-IMSAP)
Principal Investigator: Peter Fox
Description: 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. The prototypes are intended to provide search and browse options that inspire confidence that all relevant information has been found; data providers will be citable with detailed provenance generation. Expected deliverables are: information models, vocabulary and ontology services for vetted climate assessment settings, and search/ browse prototypes.

Related Research Areas:

Data Science
Lead Professor: Peter Fox
Description: Science has fully entered a new mode of operation. Data science is advancing inductive conduct of science driven by the greater volumes, complexity and heterogeneity of data being made available over the Internet. Data science combines of aspects of data management, library science, computer science, and physical science using supporting cyberinfrastructure and information technology. As such it is changing the way all of these disciplines do both their individual and collaborative work.

Data science is helping scienists face new global problems of a magnitude, complexity and interdisciplinary nature whose progress is presently limited by lack of available tools and a fully trained and agile workforce.

At present, there is a lack formal training in the key cognitive and skill areas that would enable graduates to become key participants in escience collaborations. The need is to teach key methodologies in application areas based on real research experience and build a skill-set.

At the heart of this new way of doing science, especially experimental and observational science but also increasingly computational science, is the generation of data.

Concepts: eScience
Ontology Engineering Environments
Lead Professor: Deborah L. McGuinness
Description: Ontology Engineering Environments
Concepts: Semantic Web
Semantic eScience
Lead Professor: Peter Fox
Science has fully entered a new mode of operation. E-science, defined as a combination of science, informatics, computer science, cyberinfrastructure and information technology is changing the way all of these disciplines do both their individual and collaborative work.
As semantic technologies have been gaining momentum in various e-Science areas (for example, W3C's new interest group for semantic web health care and life science), it is important to offer semantic-based methodologies, tools, middleware to facilitate scientific knowledge modeling, logical-based hypothesis checking, semantic data integration and application composition, integrated knowledge discovery and data analyzing for different e-Science applications.
Partially influenced by the Artificial Intelligence community, the Semantic Web researchers have largely focused on formal aspects of semantic representation languages or general-purpose semantic application development, with inadequate consideration of requirements from specific science areas. On the other hand, general science researchers are growing ever more dependent on the web, but they have no coherent agenda for exploring the emerging trends on the semantic web technologies. It urgently requires the development of a multi-disciplinary field to foster the growth and development of e-Science applications based on the semantic technologies and related knowledge-based approaches.

Concepts: eScience
Lead Professor: Peter Fox
Description: In the last 2-3 years, Informatics has attained greater visibility across a broad range of disciplines, especially in light of great successes in bio- and biomedical-informatics and significant challenges in the explosion of data and information resources. Xinformatics is intended to provide both the common informatics knowledge as well as how it is implemented in specific disciplines, e.g. X=astro, geo, chem, etc. Informatics' theoretical basis arises from information science, cognitive science, social science, library science as well as computer science. As such, it aggregates these studies and adds both the practice of information processing, and the engineering of information systems.
Concepts: Semantic Web, eScience