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Experiences of a “semantics smackdown”


Within the field of ocean science there is a long history of using controlled vocabularies and other Semantic Web techniques to provide a common and easily exchanged description of datasets. As an activity within the European Union, United States, Australian-funded project “Ocean Data Interoperability Platform”, a workshop took place in June 2014 at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute to further the use of these Semantic Web techniques with the aim of producing a set Linked Data publication patterns which describe many parts of a marine science dataset. During the workshop, a Semantic Web development methodology was followed which promoted the use of a team with mixed skills (computer, data and marine science experts) to rapidly prototype a model ontology which could be iterated in the future. In this paper we outline the methodology employed in the workshop, and examine both the technical and sociological outcomes of a workshop of this kind.

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The work described in this paper was funded in part through European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme for research, technological development and demonstration under grant agreement no 312492, and in part by supplemental funding from the National Science Foundation to the R2R program (NSF OCE 0947877, 0947822, 0947828, 0947784). The workshop was kindly hosted by the Tetherless World Constellation at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. At the time of the workshop, Adam Leadbetter represented the British Oceanographic Data Centre.

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Correspondence to Adam M. Leadbetter.

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Communicated by: H. A. Babaie

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Leadbetter, A.M., Shepherd, A., Arko, R. et al. Experiences of a “semantics smackdown”. Earth Sci Inform 9, 355–363 (2016).

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  • Oceanography
  • Semantic Web
  • Linked Data
  • Development Patterns
  • Workshop Methodology