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Domain Vocabularies, Ontologies and Semantics- Mini-series Home Page     (1)

This is a 2 session Mini-series on "Domain Vocabularies, Ontologies and Semantics" - a Domain Vocabulary-Ontology Dialog.     (1A)

This mini-series of events are co-organized or supported by members of the Ontolog community, Research Data Alliance community and IAOA community.     (1B)

About the Series:     (1C)

Description, Goals and Objectives This mini-series is designed to explore the current status and application of semantic science and ontologies to systematize and leverage the already large body of domain definition work on vocabularies and their meaning. Increasingly standardizing the registration and management of domain vocabulary is needed since such terms are used as part of data/metadata documentation. As part of this controlled vocabulary are often used for indexing and retrieval of data resources. However terminologies, driven in part by early efforts, are often arbitrary with little supporting conceptualizations or real standardization. There are some cases with many dozen local standards for data which makes data integration a challenge. Despite community efforts various types of standardized vocabularies are, for the most part, heterogeneous, meaning they:     (1C1)

  • are mostly fragmented and disconnected, describing without a foundational grounding.     (1C2)
  • This results in domain vocabularies that have the same concept scope; but are represented with different terms, use different formats and formalisms, and are published and stored with alternative access methods. Indeed, since the “vocabularies” are often just defined words, rather than defined concepts with word labels, there is a struggle to reach agreement because various groups have independently develop very similar concepts with their own vocabulary. And as noted in previous Ontolog Forum discussions, distinguishable concepts can be lumped together into a single concept and 2 words many seem to have the same meaning but there are granularity, time scale or agency distinctions that can be made. This creates the need to modify existing vocabularies extensively including refining one concept by adding another subordinate concept or a concept participating in an additional semantic relation.     (1C3)

Past Ontolog Forum sessions have also demonstrated, for example, problems in the Earth Science where many alternative vocabularies compete. As an example, some water quality vocabularies conflate multiple concepts and insert these into a single, compounded term. Thus a term for one type of observation may mix the substance (or taxon) with the medium (e.g. water) observed, along with the procedure used as part of the observation and the units used for measurement. Alternate terms, the lack of clear definitions and poor maintenance of vocabularies makes systematic vocabulary use as well as integration with other vocabularies difficult.     (1C4)

This comes despite decades of intensive work on controlled vocabularies (standardized sets of terms) and now human readable definitions accessible via URIs on the Web, problems remain. While linked data using RDF/S provides some help with representation and syntax there is often no supporting, systematic conceptualization. Some work with leverages classification schemes and thesauri but lack well-defined semantics and structural consistency, which makes matching up concepts that terms represent difficult. Part of the remaining task is then the lingering challenge of clarifying the alternate representation of implicit ideas in people's interpretation to reasonably reflect the types of entities found in reality.     (1C5)

Is there a rationalized “consensus” on how to leverage existing vocabularies as well as existing ontologies? In past Ontolog discussions approaches as different as top-level ontologies, ontology design patterns, RDF graphs, bridge ontologies and reference ontologies have been featured. This mini-series is an effort to update and advance the discussion within the Ontolog Forum Community and beyond to communities like the Research Data Alliance which also has an interest in improved semantics for domain vocabularies.     (1C6)

A key mission of the mini-series is to bring together members of various domains into a meaningful dialog. We anticipate that the sharing of problems and issues, ontological engineering architectures and approaches, and prospective tools, will enable collaborative understanding of the challenges and potential value in the application of ontology and semantics for people currently struggling with domain vocabularies.     (1C7)

Info on Our First session     (1D)

This session represents a follow up to some of the things discussed at​ past Ontolog Forum sessions and the recent ​RDA P​lenary ​8​ in Denver which included a BoF on Domain Vocabulary Development, Standardization, Registration, Harmonization and Support.​     (1D2)

Gary Berg-Cross will provide an introduction to the session and the topic of improved semantics for domain vocabularies drawing from past Ontology Summits on the role of semantics and ontologies in Big Data (2015) and IoT (2016). Speakers     (1D3)

  • Mark Fox (University of Toronto) will talk on: An Upper Level Ontology for Global City Indicators     (1D4)

Abstract: Efforts are underway to introduce international standards for vocabularies and ontologies for Smart Cities. One area of standards development is city indicators for measuring quality of life, sustainability and resilience. This presentation will review: 1) the city indicator standard efforts as embodied in ISO 37120 and ISO 37121; 2) concepts that underly the representation of indicator definitions and data; and 3) a new ISO project JTC 1 N130171 “An Upper Level Ontology for Smart City Indicators”.     (1D5)

  • Torsten Hahmann (University of Maine) will talk on: "Domain Reference Ontologies vs. Domain Ontologies: What's the Difference? Lessons from the Water Domain"     (1D6)

Abstract The talk outlines an approach of using a domain-specific reference (or foundational) ontology as a tool for integrating existing semi-formal ontologies within a common domain. We will illustrate this using a reference ontology for the water domain, showing how it has helped formalize, refine and revise an existing semi-formal hydro ontology as a stepping stone towards improved semantic integration within the water domain. We present key characteristics that a domain reference ontology must fulfill and how they compare to what a typical domain or application ontology looks like.     (1D7)

  • Boyan Brodaric (NRCan/RNCan) will talk on: What's a river? A foundational approach to a domain reference ontology for water     (1D8)

Conference Call Details     (1F)

Date: Thursday, 10-Nov-2016 Start Time: 9:30am PST / 12:30pm Eastern / 6:30pm CEST / 5:30pm BST / 1630 UTC ref: World Clock Expected Call Duration: ~2 hours Dial-in (we are using a different number for these sessions): This is a Free Conference call (US): +866-653-2580 Participant Passcode: 8677438     (1F1)

In-session chat-room url:     (1F2)

Instructions: once you got access to the page, click on the "settings" button, and identify yourself (by modifying the Name field from "anonymous" to your real name, like "JaneDoe").     (1F2B)

You can indicate that you want to ask a question verbally by clicking on the "hand" button, and wait for the moderator to call on you; or, type and send your question into the chat window at the bottom of the screen.     (1F2C)

thanks to the soaphub.org folks, one can now use a jabber/xmpp client (e.g. gtalk) to join this chatroom. Just add the room as a buddy - (in our case here) summit_20160225@soaphub.org ... Handy for mobile devices!     (1F2D)

Chat discussion     (1G)

Attendees     (1H)

Key Date(s) to Note:     (1H2)

Currently we have 2 speakers:     (1H2B)

  1. Simon Scheider​ (​Human Geography and Spatial Planning, Universiteit Utrecht​)​ on the challenges he's found in ontological prerequisites for meaningful spatio-temporal analysis (maps, statistics).     (1H2C)
  1. Olivier Bodenrieder (NIH) ​will speak on the vocabaulary experience with SNOWMED.     (1H2D)

Plan & Schedule     (1H3)

Virtual Panel Sessions planned for this Mini-Series:     (1H3A)


Project Work-in-Progress     (1H4)

Our 2nd session is Nov. 17th.     (1H4A)

Speakers:     (1H4B)

  • Simon Scheider​ (​Human Geography and Spatial Planning, Universiteit Utrecht​)​ on the challenges he's found in ontological prerequisites for meaningful spatio-temporal analysis (maps, statistics).     (1H4C)
  • Olivier Bodenrieder (NIH) ​will speak on the vocabaulary experience with SNOWMED.     (1H4D)

The Team     (1I)

Discussion Archives & Shared-File Workspace     (1J)

Resources     (1K)