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					 Environmental Health Science—
     Cross Domain Ontology
  Research (EHS-CORE) Project

     Collaborative Expedition Workshop #38,
  February 22, 2005, National Science Foundation
Jane Greenberg, Associate Professor, School of Information and
Library Science, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
(SILS/UNC—CH)

Abe Crystal, Research Assistant and Doctoral Student, SILS/UNC

W. Davenport Robertson, Library Director, National Institute of
Environmental Health Sciences
Obesity and the Built Environment:
  An Interdisciplinary Challenge
 Obesity in America has become an “epidemic.” (Health
  and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson)

 Accounts for more than 300,000 premature deaths each
  year, direct health care costs in excess of $61 billion

 Burden significantly greater in the lower socioeconomic
  strata, minority and vulnerable populations.

 Promising solution—integrate physical activity into daily
  life by improving the built environment—the physical
  surroundings in which one lives and works.

 Interdisciplinary nature of obesity and the built
  environment
   Problem: “Information Silos”
 Researchers are unaware of useful data and
  literature sources in related disciplines, beyond
  their immediate scope, because they are
  confronted with information silos
   Scenario 1: we know it’s there, but “it’s roll the dice
    whether or not we find it”
   Scenario 2: we don’t know it’s there (student PubMed
    search misses many relevant databases)

 Researchers aware of resources in other
  domains must locate all relevant and
  independent data sources, interact with each
  data source in isolation, and manually combine
  results
              Problem impact
 Researchers face:
   A labor-intensive and inefficient interdisciplinary
    research experience (hard to find/integrate data and
    literature from outside own domain)

   Difficulty in locating “undiscovered public knowledge”
    (Swanson, 1986)—research from disparate
    disciplines, that when combined can solve an open
    problem

   Duplicative research resulting from the absence of
    knowledge about research in related, but pertinent
    disciplines
   Solution: information integration
Research goals of proposed project:
 Integrate existing domain-specific ontologies to provide
  uniform intellectual access to interdisciplinary data and
  literature on obesity and the built environment.

 Use Semantic Web metadata and technologies to
  provide powerful querying and inferencing capabilities on
  the integrated ontology.

 Develop an ontology server capable of dynamically
  incorporating changes (i.e., “just-in-time” integration) in
  domain-specific ontologies (e.g., new or revised
  vocabularies) into the integrated ontology.
    Proposed Research Team
 Domain science
 (nutrition and public health)
   UNC School of Public Health, Active Living by Design
 Ontology engineering and systems
 development (computer science)
   MINDSWAP/UMD
 Ontology and Web semantics
 development and evaluation (information
 science)
   Metadata Research Center/SILS/UNC-CH
       Information Integration:
        Ontological Solutions
Functional criteria
 Integrate ontologies from different
  domains/disciplines, using standard languages
  such as OWL

 Provide access to disparate and distributed
  data and literature

 Update vocabulary dynamically (on the fly, or at
  frequent intervals) based on changes in host
  ontologies
     Information Integration:
     Ontological Solutions (2)
Technical criteria
 The components must be openly
  accessible, preferably open source, and
  listed in a standard registry.

 They must use open enabling
  technologies and standards, such as:
   Uniform Resource Identifiers (URIs)
   Resource Descriptor Format (RDF), RDFS,
    and OWL (Web Ontology Language)
               Implementation
 Domain research
    Multi-method approach (interviews, log analysis…)
 Ontology mapping
    Standardization, pruning, mapping, testing, reviewing,
     etc.
 Ontology server
    Define functional requirements, system architecture,
     prototyping, evaluation
 Document Cataloging
    Document sampling, cataloging (Dublin Core),
     metadata evaluation
 Unified interface
    Define functional requirements, prototyping, connect
     to ontology server, usability testing
            Three Key Impacts
 Addresses a major social problem, epidemic
  obesity

 Validates an approach to dynamic ontological
  integration approach, which may be applicable
  to many domains

 Facilitates cross-domain research, leading to
  increased scientific productivity and discovery
            Project Status
 Beginning preliminary fieldwork

 Pending proposals: NSF (system design
 and ontological integration), IMLS (user
 access to resource collection at ALbD)

 Environmental Health Science Thesaurus
 Forum (buy-in by many)
                           Selected References
 Greenberg, J. (2004a). Metadata Extraction and Harvesting: A Comparison of Two
    Automatic Metadata Generation Applications. Journal of Internet Cataloging, 6(4): 59-82.
   Gruber, TR. (1993). A Translation Approach to Portable Ontology Specification. Knowledge
    Acquisition, 5: 199-220.
   Gruber, TR. (1994). Toward Principles for the Design of Ontolgoies Used for Knowledge
    Sharing. IJHSC, 43 (5/6): 907-928.
   Guarino, N. (1998). Formal Ontology and Information Systems. In: N. Guarino, editor,
    Proceedings of the 1st International Conference on Formal Ontologies in Information
    Systems, FOIS '98, Trento, Italy, June, 1998, ISO Press, pp. 2-15.
   Kalyanpur, A, Sirin E, Parsia B, and Hendler, J. (2004). Hypermedia inspired Ontology
    Engineering Environment: Swoop. Submitted to ISWC 2004 as a poster. [Online]. Available
    http://www.mindswap.org/papers/SWOOP-Poster.pdf
   Lauser, B., Wildemann, T., Poulos, A., Fisseha, F., Keizer, J., and Katz, S. A
    Comprehensive Framework for Building Multilingual Domain Ontologies: Creating a
    Prototype Biosecurity Ontology. In Proceedings of the International Conference on Dublin
    Core and Metadata for e-Communities, 2002, Florence, Italy. October 13-17. Firenze:
    Firenze University Press, pp. 113-123, 2002. [Online]
    http://www.bncf.net/dc2002/program/ft/paper13.pdf.
   Robertson, WD, and Greenberg, J. (2004). Architecting a Cross-Disciplinary Thesaurus for
    the Semantic Web. DC-2004: Metadata across Languages and Cultures. Proceedings of
    the International Conference on Dublin Core and Metadata Applications, October 11-14,
    2004, Shanghai, China.
   Sowa, J. F. (2002). Ontology, Metadata, and Semiotics, International Conference on
    Conceptual Structures, ICCS '2000, August 14-18, Darmstadt, Germany.
   Swanson, D. R. (1986). Undiscovered Public Knowledge. Library Quarterly, 56: 103-118.
   Shanghai: Shanghai Scientific & Technological Literature Publishing House, pp. 231-235.

				
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