The next webinar in the series, “MEANING MATTERS: Practical Applications of Semantic Technology,” is about an interesting topic featuring a really interesting guy, Dr. Bob Allkin, a scientist at The Royal Botanical Gardens at Kew who’s responsible for their Medicinal Plant Names Services. Kew is a major custodian of the world’s botanical nomenclature.

The talk is entitled “WHAT’S IN A NAME? How Kew helps drug regulators disambiguate the messy welter of medicinal plant names to shore up regulation and save lives”. It’s really eye-opening to realize how complicated and imprecise names can get, with multiple scientific, pharmaceutical and popular names for the same thing or with one name used for completely different things.

This has real-world consequences. For example, the EU mistakenly banned a useful plant we use every day when intending to ban a poisonous one because of a naming problem. How Kew is using semantic and taxonomic tools and technologies to bring order to this complexity is really fascinating. They’re also helping to disambiguate nomenclature and provide links to authoritative information for botanical terms for use in journal articles, among other things.

Margie Hlava, President of Access Innovations and a botanist by training, will be on hand to answer questions about the technologies implemented behind the scenes.

The webinar is at noon Eastern time on Wednesday, August 26. You can register here.

Melody K. Smith

Sponsored by Data Harmony, a unit of Access Innovations, the world leader in indexing and making content findable.