Data in every discipline is constantly growing and changing. The disparity and inconsistency of data represents one of the biggest challenges researchers and public health officials must confront while trying to manage the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. University at Buffalo brought us this information in their news release titled, “Leveraging a powerful weapon in the fight against COVID-19 — ontology.”

Several organizations across the country, including the University at Buffalo’s National Center for Ontological Research, are working to develop ontologies to assist in the efforts to control the current outbreak, accelerate data discovery in future pandemics and promote reproducible infectious disease research — in other words, provide consistency.

In order to realize the scope of the challenge faced by scientists as they confront COVID-19, consider the many disciplines involved in the fight — everything from immunochemistry to behavioral population modeling.

Ontologies are data sharing tools that provide for interoperability through a computerized lexicon with a taxonomy and a set of terms and relationships with logically structured definitions.

Melody K. Smith

Sponsored by Access Innovations, the world leader in thesaurus, ontology, and taxonomy creation and metadata application.