Using the VINE Tool

About VINE

VINE is a free, open source software tool for mapping between multiple controlled vocabularies. Mapping between controlled vocabularies in a given domain is essential to interoperability between different data systems in the domain. In other words, it's important to have a machine-readable way for a search computer to understand how terms are related (for example, if one term is equivalent to, more general than, or narrower than another term).

How to Get VINE

VINE is available as part of the MMI Ontology Registry and Repository

How to Use VINE

Before using VINE, it's necessary to identify, and obtain the controlled vocabularies in the domain of interest. The best way to acquire the appropriate vocabulary files is to contact experts in the domain of interest. The files can have any extension, but must be in either RDF or OWL formats.

If you are dealing with files in other formats (text, relational data bases, Microsoft Excel), you will need to harmonize them (bring them into RDF/OWL) before using VINE. The Voc2RDF tool can be used to accomplish this. The Voc2RDF: online application and now integrated as part of the the MMI Ontology Registry and Repository

Once your vocabulary is in RDF, there are many tools available for working with, and visualizing, the information in your vocabulary; See MMI for a list of such tools.

About Vocabulary Mapping

Doing accurate mapping requires an in-depth knowledge of the meaning of the terms in each vocabulary. It is usually most efficient to gather a small group of domain experts, who are familiar with the controlled vocabularies, together for an in-person mapping session. In addition to the domain experts, the mapping team may also include a facilitator, recorder, tools specialist, ontology specialist, domain lead, and communication liaison. (See the Vocabulary Mapping Workshop Template)

In the mapping session:

  1. Open VINE
  2. Choose New File (this means a new mapping file)
  3. Import the controlled vocabulary files
  4. Begin mapping between individual terms in the vocabulary files. It may be helpful to choose one of the controlled vocabularies as a reference (or base) vocabulary to which to map other vocabularies. See Guide to the Mapping Process
  5. Save this .owl mapping file (and/or choose to Export it into ASCII format


MMI VINE description

Help in the VINE software

Template for Holding a Vocabulary Mapping Workshop, including the following two pages, in particular:

Suggested Citation

Watson, S. 2011. "Using the VINE Tool." In The MMI Guides: Navigating the World of Marine Metadata. Accessed December 6, 2019.