UAT Steering Committee Call for Nominations 2023–2025

The Unified Astronomy Thesaurus (UAT) is an open, interoperable, and community-supported project which formalizes astronomical concepts and their inter-relationships into a high-quality, freely available open resource. Its mission is to enable greater search and discovery across the astrophysics literature, as well as a taxonomy that can be used to label other research products, such as software and datasets. The UAT has been implemented by an increasing number of journals, research organizations, and systems*, including the American Astronomical Society and the JWST proposal system. It is currently being integrated into the Astrophysics Data System (ADS).

The Steering Committee (SC) sets the general parameters for the overall direction of the UAT and is composed of representatives from groups with a direct stake in the development and success of the UAT. Members of the SC also serve as representatives of the UAT, promoting it to global astronomy, astrophysics, library, and publishing communities, developing test cases, and increasing its overall use. More information about the Steering Committee is available on the UAT website. We welcome nominees from all regions of the world, with a specific interest in adding international and in particular Southern Hemisphere representation.

We welcome expressions of interest from astronomers, developers, data scientists, researchers, librarians, and others. The commitment is a two-year term (Feb 2023 – Feb 2025) and includes monthly SC meetings. New members can renew annually after their initial two-year term, up to a total of five years of membership. Please contact Jenny Novacescu, current chair of the UAT SC, with “UAT Steering Committee” in the subject line, to express your interest or to ask questions.

* Current adoptees include:

  1. American Astronomical Society journals, including The Astronomical Journal (AJ), The Astrophysical Journal (ApJ), ApJS, ApJL, The Planetary Science Journal (PSJ), and Research Notes of the AAS (RNAAS)
  2. Astrophysics Data System (ADS)
  3. Publications of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific (PASP)
  4. International Virtual Observatory Alliance (IVOA)
  5. Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI) for the Hubble Space Telescope (HST) and JWST proposal systems
  6. WikiData

The closing date is 20 January 2023.

(Cross posted from AAS News.)

UAT API url update

This post is meant for users of the UAT Linked Data API hosted by ARDC. If you do not actively the API directly, no action is needed.

On November 5th the current domain name used by the Linked Data API ( will cease to function and queries to the Linked Data API will need to use the new domain name ( instead.

If you only use UAT URIs (e.g. then no change is needed.  We have updated the URI redirect to point to the new domain for the Linked Data API.

However, if you are making queries directly to the Linked Data API you will need to change to the new domain name in your scripts.

For example, if you are searching for a concept that has “photometry” in any label, you might use an API call like this:

By November 5th, the domain name in the API call needs to be updated like this:

Please reach out to the UAT Steering Committee if you have any questions.

What’s new with the Unified Astronomy Thesaurus

The Unified Astronomy Thesaurus (UAT) is an open, interoperable, and community-supported thesaurus of astronomical and astrophysical concepts and their relationships. It unifies existing divergent and isolated astronomy and astrophysics vocabularies into a single high-quality, freely-available online thesaurus available to publishers, authors, and everyone else an interest in classifying astronomical concepts.

A website ( was launched in early 2013 where the UAT can be found in support of these goals. There are three different ways to explore the UAT:
1) a hierarchy browser which shows the terms in context, and lets you drill down through the various branches;
2) an alphabetical browse which can make it easy to discover information on a particular term without knowing beforehand where it might be located in the structure, and
3) a dendrogram, or tree graph, which visually lays out the UAT and lets you expand and collapse terms to to explore the relationships between words.

Additionally, the UAT is available for download in several formats, including RDF and CSV. Please note, however, that since the UAT is still in beta, we expect many changes in the content of the thesaurus before our official version one release.

A second step forward that we have taken has been to reach out to other groups that work with thesauri, specifically AgroVoc and EuroVoc. Both use an open source management platform called VocBench (developed by FAO specifically for ArgroVoc) to maintain and edit their thesauri. The developers of VocBench have aided our group in setting up an in-house trial to test the solution for the development and maintenance of the UAT.

This platform allows multiple users to log in and suggest changes to the UAT, and it also does an excellent job of catching a detailed change history, maintaining the provenance of the term, and tracking where suggestions are originating from. Suggestions made by users of the UAT will be accepted or rejected by our subject specialist editors, then the stewarding librarian will release these changes at regular intervals in versioned batches.

Currently, we are working with a small group of astronomers and astrophysicists who had previously expressed interest in becoming part of the editor team. We will be giving them access to the UAT on the VocBench platform, which will allow them to test the interface and begin making suggestions to improve the UAT. Assuming all goes well, we hope to allow public access to VocBench in 2014. In the meantime, if you wish to view the UAT, you may peruse online browsers at the UAT website or download thesaurus files. Suggestions for the UAT may also be made using the new “Contribute Form” on the website. Comments submitted in this manner will be forwarded to our team of editors for further discussion and inclusion in VocBench.

To express your interest in contributing to the UAT, in developing the UAT, or just to join in the discussion, please join the Google Group: