Missouri Botanical Garden Open Conference Systems, TDWG 2014 ANNUAL CONFERENCE

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Using the Biological Collections Ontology to Advance Biodiversity Science
Ramona L. Walls, John Deck, Robert Guralnick, John Wieczorek

Building: Elmia Congress Centre, Jönköping
Room: Rum 10
Date: 2014-10-29 11:00 AM – 11:15 AM
Last modified: 2014-10-24


Transitioning to a semantically-enabled infrastructure is a crucial next step for advancing biodiversity science and addressing the many pressing questions in the field that require access to large-scale data and integration of data from many sources. The Biological Collections Ontology (BCO) provides a semantic framework for integrating and reasoning over biodiversity data from diverse sources, including Darwin Core Archives (DwCA), Minimum Information for any (x) Sequence (MIxS) compliant genomic/metagenomic datasets, and field-based surveys or sampling studies. While the ontology itself is a key component of the biodiversity informatics tool kit, we believe that it must be accompanied by user-friendly data conversion, management, and query tools in order to gain wide adoption and function effectively. Over the past year, several hackathons and workshops have focused on converting DwCA and tabular-formatted data into resource description format (RDF), so that it can be queried using the BCO. The result is a functioning proof-of-concept workflow and proposals to take parts of the workflow into production.

In this presentation, we will report on some of the latest developments in the BCO and related applications, including mappings from Darwin Core (DwC) and MIxS to BCO and tools for converting between tabular/DwCA data and RDF. We will conclude with a brief discussion of how the semantic approach adopted by the BCO project can contribute to research for understanding and sustaining biodiversity.