Semantic Infrastructure is central to realizing the first goal of the ASDC’s Strategic Plan: expanding the ASDC’s customer base by improving access to ASDC data. ASDC data comprises a widely heterogeneous set of complex products which presents two significant challenges in data access: Helping customers discover, among many available options, the most suitable data products for their purpose; and Guiding customers to easily and appropriately use products.
Data products differ significantly in terms of how the data was collected and processed, even with similar subject matter. Understanding differences is critical to using data effectively. To reach a broader customer range, the ASDC must provide prospective users with enough information to quickly and meaningfully compare and evaluate data products. Data formats and structures also differ among products. Applications displaying and analyzing data need access to federated and semantically disambiguated data.
Semantic technologies offer functionality for addressing this issue. Ontologies can provide robust, stable domain models serving as common schema for discovering, evaluating, comparing, and integrating data from disparate products. Reasoning engines and triple stores can leverage ontologies to support intelligent search applications allowing users to discover, query, retrieve, and easily reformat data from a broad spectrum of sources.