Ontology engineering in provenance enablement for the National Climate Assessment

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The National Climate Assessment of the U.S. Global Change Research Program (USGCRP) analyzes and presents the impacts of climate change on the United States. The provenance information in the assessment is important because the assessment findings are of great public and academic concern and are used in policy and decision-making. By applying a use case-driven iterative methodology, we developed information models and ontology to represent the content structure of the recent National Climate Assessment draft report and its associated provenance information. We tested the ontology by using it in pilot systems serving information about instances of chapters, scientific findings, figures, tables, images, datasets, references, people, and organizations, etc. in the draft report, as well as interrelationships among those instances. The results successfully help users trace provenance in the draft report, such as finding all the journal articles from which a figure in the report was derived. The provenance information in our work was maintained in the context of the “Web of Data”. In addition to the pilot systems we developed, other tools and services are also able to retrieve and utilize the provenance information. Our work is part of a Global Change Information System coordinated by the USGCRP that will eventually cover provenance information for the entire scope of global change research. Such a system will greatly increase understanding, credibility and trust in the global change research and foster reproducibility of scientific results and conclusions.

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:

Ontology Engineering Environments
Lead Professor: Deborah L. McGuinness
Description: Ontology Engineering Environments
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
Web Science
Lead Professor: Jim Hendler, Deborah L. McGuinness
Description: Web Science is the study of the World Wide Web and its impact on both society and technology, positioning the Web as an object of scientific study unto itself. Web Science recognizes the Web as a transformational, disruptive technology; its practitioners study the Web, its components, facets and characteristics. Ultimately, Web Science is about understanding the Web and anticipating how it might evolve in the future.
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: , eScience