Machine-actionable vocabularies and data definitions—why they matter and how to make your own
This workshop was originally organised at the NeIC All-hands meeting in Kvitfjell, Norway on 24 January 2023. It was presented by Wolmar Nyberg Åkerström (NBIS) on behalf of the Data management team at the National Bioinformatics Infrastructure Sweden (NBIS). The content from the workshop was later consolidated into a single presentation as part of the Case studies on pragmatic interoperability project funded by the RDA / EOSC Future Call for Interoperability Framework Contributions (March–September 2023).
Description of the workshop
Just as dictionaries and glossaries sometimes help you avoid misunderstandings in everyday communications, data dictionaries and data definitions can be used to make systems interoperable. In the spectrum of human-to-system-to-human communications you will find ways of systematically organising knowledge for subsequent retrieval using “controlled vocabularies”—that is, sets of predefined, authorised terms that have been selected by some governing principles. Controlled vocabularies are used ubiquitously, from systematically recording data for a single research study, to serving as the source of acceptable terms in form fields, to enabling large-scale indexing of inventories, medical literature and research outputs.
During this workshop, you will:
- Learn why you might want to take your vocabularies to the next level, what it means to make them machine-actionable, and how to govern them in simple scenarios
- Practice creating, sharing and using vocabularies following recipes that illustrate the general principles and can scale to real-world applications
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