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Abstract Detail

Digitized natural history collections records in traditional research, collaborative research, and big data research

Schulz, Katja [1], Hammock, Jennifer [2], Parr, Cynthia [2].

TraitBank: Structured Data in the Encyclopedia of Life.

The Encyclopedia of Life (EOL, provides free access to information about all organisms. Initially a platform for the aggregation of taxon descriptions and media files, the project has recently expanded its coverage to include computable trait data across the tree of life. These data are managed in a Virtuoso triple store ("TraitBank") that interacts with the existing EOL infrastructure for harvesting information, resolving taxon names, and quality control by online curators. A new structured data interface provides access to over 3 million measurements and facts about the distribution, ecology, life history, physiology and morphology of organisms. TraitBank data are freely available for download and reuse. Data sources include major biodiversity information systems (e.g., OBIS, IUCN), literature supplements (via Dryad, Pangaea), label data from natural history collections, and legacy/unpublished data from individual scientists and projects. Data types range from individual specimen measurements and results of a particular study to summary data from large surveys and comprehensive reviews. Some of the data are derived from text mining projects. Each data record is accompanied by available metadata on provenance, measurements methods, sampling parameters, etc. TraitBank is semantically enhanced through links to domain-specific ontologies and controlled vocabularies, such as the Plant Trait Ontology (TO), Phenotypic Quality Ontology (PATO), Vertebrate Trait Ontology (VT), and Environment Ontology (ENVO). This approach provides an explicit context for each record and imposes a common structure on data derived from heterogeneous sources. Since not all biodiversity data captured by TraitBank can as yet be mapped to ontologies, the EOL team also collaborates with experts to bridge gaps in current knowledge representation systems. The emerging semantic framework will facilitate data discovery, support queries across data sets, and advance data integration and exchange among projects, thus making more biodiversity data available for use in scientific and policy-oriented applications.

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Related Links:
Encyclopedia of Life

1 - Smithsonian Institution National Museum of Natural History, Encyclopedia of Life, P.O. Box 37012, MRC 106, Washington, DC, 20013-7012, USA
2 - Smithsonian Institution National Museum of Natural History, Encyclopedia of Life, P.O. Box 37012, MRC 106, Washington, DC, 20013-7012, United States

Biodiversity Informatics
data management
Open Access
semantic web
Specimen based research.

Presentation Type: Symposium or Colloquium Presentation
Session: SY05
Location: Snake/Boise Centre
Date: Tuesday, July 29th, 2014
Time: 8:15 AM
Number: SY05002
Abstract ID:92
Candidate for Awards:None

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