What is a Vocabulary Mapping Workshop?

What is a Vocabulary Mapping Workshop?

A Vocabulary Mapping Workshop is a workshop with the goal of mapping between different controlled vocabularies used in the same or related domains. Mapping between vocabularies is a first step toward interoperability between different data sets from different data systems available via the web. Once mappings are accomplished, it is possible to develop web services that search for, identify, and/or provide relevant data sources.

Typically, an organization or project using controlled vocabularies stores those vocabularies in one of a variety of formats, including ASCII, spreadsheets, HTML, XML/XSD, DTD, RDF, and/or relational databases. These different formats make it difficult to map between controlled vocabularies used in the same or related domains. To address this, terms from the vocabularies can first be syntactically harmonized into a similar language, using MMI's VOC2OWL/VOC2RDF tool. Then, terms from the vocabularies can be mapped using MMI's Vocabulary INtegration Environment (VINE) tool, resulting in a Web Ontology Language (OWL) ontology. The mappings are (at the beginning level) based on three relationships: "broader than", "narrower than", and "same as". These mappings provide greater semantic richness than the inferred "equivalent" relationships used historically in vocabulary mappings.

An example home page, set of workshop goals and a description of a workshop approach are available. Please note that the steps outlined in this template are numerous, in order to best assist groups interested in holding a vocabulary mapping workshop. It is possible to modularize the approach (accomplish a subset of the tasks). Suggestions for modules are provided.

Under what circumstances would it be a good idea to hold a vocabulary mapping workshop?

Groups that are trying to interoperate between data systems in a given domain would benefit from a vocabulary mapping workshop. It is best if the groups have specific mapping results in mind, driven by specific use cases. It is also best if the prospective participants have a history of working together in the given domain(s).