Missouri Botanical Garden Open Conference Systems, TDWG 2014 ANNUAL CONFERENCE

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Simplifying the mechanics toward building a Biodiversity Knowledge Graph
David Peter Shorthouse, Christian Gendreau

Building: Elmia Congress Centre, Jönköping
Room: Rum 10
Date: 2014-10-29 11:30 AM – 11:45 AM
Last modified: 2014-10-24


Connecting data across biodiversity resources is messy and disconnected. Developers charged with enriching their web products with external media or researchers seeking to connect data resources for analyses quickly discover an array of idiosyncratic application programming interfaces (APIs) for content often served as JSON (JavaScript Object Notation) documents. Making effective use of these resources means designing yet more specific code to transform and map concepts represented in the inputs they must construct and the outputs they must consume. When providers alter their API signatures in response to new stakeholder requirements, a cascade of disconnected code and projects ensues. We provide examples of well-known JSON-based API resources to illustrate how our current designs are impeding the construction of a biodiversity knowledge graph. Here we propose to work toward a common, standard solution for checklist and occurrence data APIs served as JSON. Part of the solution requires adoption of a common set of input parameters modelled after OpenURL, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/OpenURL and adjustment of existing response signatures as JSON-LD, http://json-ld.org/. Both input parameters and output properties are to be expressed as Darwin Core terms and URIs, respectively and examples will be shown. Advantages and disadvantages to this approach will be discussed. We conclude with a plan toward building this simple fusion of Darwin Core, OpenURL, and JSON-LD.