Access Innovations, Inc., a leader in semantic enrichment, has teamed up with the American Institute of Physics (AIP) and IOP Publishing (IOP) to create a new astronomy thesaurus called the Unified Astronomy Thesaurus (UAT) for the American Astronomical Society (AAS) that will help improve future information discovery for researchers.
The AAS will make the UAT freely available for development and use within the astronomy community, while ensuring the thesaurus remains relevant and useful. Further development of the UAT will be undertaken by the John G. Wolbach Library at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics in collaboration with the Astrophysics Data System (ADS) and the International Virtual Observatory Alliance (IVOA) to enhance and extend the thesaurus to ensure that it continues to meet the needs of the astronomy community.
Adoption of the thesaurus within the ADS will result in better linking with the majority of astronomy research journal articles through a common vocabulary, thereby greatly improving the accuracy of information discovery.
The creation of the UAT is a result of the combination of two separate initiatives to develop thesauri as part of semantic enrichment projects by AIP and IOP. The donation of this useful tool to the AAS will help expose relationships within content across multiple publishers and service providers for the benefit of the community as a whole.
The thesaurus will be used in semantic technologies to enable researchers to execute faster, more accurate information searches and ultimately improve the discoverability of research. With many thousands of resources being published each year in the field of astronomy, these kinds of tools are vital to ensure that researchers continue to be able to find relevant information quickly and ultimately improve the discoverability of research. This applies as much to data, web services, and other resources as it does to the bibliographic resources to which thesauri have traditionally been applied.
Jack Bruce, Project Manager at Access Innovations, said, “The immersion within the astrophysics and astronomy vernacular within the past few months has been a thrilling experience. The molding and blending of multiple controlled vocabularies, each with their own variations of scope and goal, proved to be challenging and rewarding. We wish for astronomy and astrophysical communities to take full advantage of the Unified Astronomy Thesaurus in order to streamline scientific research and publishing processes.”
Chris Biemesderfer, Director of Publishing at AAS said of the gift: “It’s both generous and foresighted for AIP and IOP to donate this work to the community, at a time when so much attention is focused on enabling semantic capabilities in scholarly research and communication. The AAS is grateful to the publishers for the timely contribution. It’s exciting for the development team to receive a product that is as well thought through as this thesaurus, and the Society is proud to support the research community through partnerships like the UAT.”
Mark Cassar, Publisher at AIP, said, “Information discovery and retrieval are essential to advance research in all the physical sciences. This thesaurus will give astronomers and astrophysicists a more comprehensive language tool to improve data searches across disciplines. AIP is pleased to play a role in this collaboration and looks forward to seeing the benefits of UAT within the research community.”
Graham McCann, Head of Product Management and Innovation at IOP, said, “This is an exciting and ambitious collaboration that will have real long-term benefits for researchers. IOP’s investment in semantic enrichment is a great example of how publishers serve the scientific community by underpinning the scholarly communications process using the very latest technologies.”
Founded in 1978, the privately held Access Innovations, Inc. offers an extensive line of information management and database creation products and services. The company’s suite of Data Harmony products provides thesaurus/taxonomy construction and content management tools to industry publishers, web services, corporations, associations, and government agencies with large intranets.
Access Innovations, Inc. also offers specialized knowledge domains for licensing. Its taxonomy library covers a wide range of fields and disciplines with customization services.
About the American Astronomical Society
The American Astronomical Society (AAS), established 1899, is the major organization of professional astronomers in North America. The membership (~7,000) also includes physicists, mathematicians, geologists, engineers and others whose research interests lie within the broad spectrum of subjects now comprising contemporary astronomy. The mission of the American Astronomical Society is to enhance and share humanity’s scientific understanding of the Universe.
About the American Institute of Physics
The American Institute of Physics (AIP) is an organization of 10 physical science societies, representing more than 135,000 scientists, engineers, and educators. As one of the world’s largest publishers of scientific information in physics, AIP employs innovative publishing technologies and offers publishing services for its member societies. AIP’s suite of publications includes 15 journals, three of which are published in partnership with other organizations; magazines, including its flagship publication Physics Today; and the AIP Conference Proceedings series. Through its Physics Resources Center, AIP also delivers valuable services and expertise in education and student programs, science communications, government relations, career services for science and engineering professionals, statistical research, industrial outreach, and the history of physics and other sciences.
About IOP Publishing
IOP Publishing is part of the Institute of Physics, a leading scientific society with over 45,000 international members. The Institute aims to advance physics for the benefit of all by working to advance physics research, application and education; and engaging with policy makers and the public to develop awareness and understanding of physics. Any financial surplus earned by IOP Publishing goes to support science through the activities of the Institute.