Update on the UAT

I just realized it had been a while since my last update!  I’ve been working on the UAT behind the scenes quite a bit lately, though most of it has not been visible so I thought it would be a good time to write another update email.

We’re nearly ready to launch VocBench: After looking at various tools, we landed on VocBench, an open source platform for managing and editing controlled vocabularies.  We’ve spent the last few months getting it ready to go, and we are almost ready to make it public.
This platform will allow users to suggest edits and updates to the UAT, which are then assigned to our team of editors for review, and suggestions that are accepted will be incorporated into a future release.

Recent updates to the UAT website: I spent some time re-organizing the website to make visible some items that have previously been buried.  For example, now you will see the Contribute button right in the menu bar!  For now this button takes you to our contribution form, but once VocBench it launched, it will go there instead.
Also, the download section is no longer hidden under the Thesaurus button.  From there you can download the current RDF file as well as a new flat CSV file.  I’ve also included a link to the UAT GitHub repository, where I’ve been hard at work creating scripts to turn the RDF/SKOS file into the website browsers.

Posters and papers: Alberto Accomazzi, et al, wrote a paper about the UAT project, following a poster he presented at the ADASS XXIII conference.  Currently the paper can be found in arXiv, but it will also be published in an upcoming volume of the ASP Conference Proceedings.
Another poster on the Unified Astronomy Thesaurus was presented in June at the Libraries and Information Services in Astronomy conference, with an upcoming paper also scheduled to be published in a future volume of the ASP Conference Proceedings.

We’re still looking for volunteers to help oversee various branches of the UAT!  If you’re interested in becoming an editor, please let me know.

The UAT at the e-Sciences Symposium

Yesterday, Chris Erdmann (Head Librarian at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics) and I presented a poster on the Unified Astronomy Thesaurus at the 2014 E-Sciences Symposium, held by the University of Massachusetts Medical School.

UAT at eSciences Symposium 2014
Presented at the 2014 e-Sciences Symposium

We used this poster as an opportunity to introduce VocBench, the thesaurus management tool we have been exploring and testing.

As I mentioned in my previous post, VocBench is a tool that will allow us to receive and manage user suggestions.  A team of editors will review these suggestions and then approve or reject them.  On a regular schedule, the stewarding librarian will release these approved changes in batches, pushing the new content out so that users of the UAT can update their projects accordingly.

We are getting closer to soft launching VocBench so that our editors can test the platform and review the many comments and suggestions we have already received.  Once these comments have been reviewed and decided on, we plan to open VocBench up to receive community input and we will be releasing UAT v1.0.  Stay tuned…!

The Unified Astronomy Thesaurus at AAS!

Alberto Accomazzi, Chris Biemesderfer, and Norman Gray presented a poster on the Unified Astronomy Thesaurus at the AAS 221st Meeting in Long Beach California, January 8 2013.


Poster Session Abstract

Creation and Maintenance of a Unified Astronomy Thesaurus

N. Gray, University of Glasgow, Glasgow, UNITED KINGDOM; C. Erdmann, A. Accomazzi, Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, Cambridge, MA; J. Soles, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, CANADA; G. McCann, Institute of Physics, Bristol, UNITED KINGDOM; M. Cassar, American Institute of Physics, New York, NY; C. Biemesderfer, American Astronomical Society, Washington, DC

We describe a collaborative effort to update and unify the various vocabularies currently in use in Astronomy into a single thesaurus that can be further developed and updated through broad community participation. The Unified Astronomy Thesaurus (UAT) will be an open, interoperable and community-supported thesaurus which unifies the existing divergent and isolated Astronomy & Astrophysics thesauri into a single high-quality, freely-available open thesaurus formalizing astronomical concepts and their interrelationships. Continue reading “The Unified Astronomy Thesaurus at AAS!”