Semantic Interlinking of Resources in the Virtual Observatory Era
Scientific progress hinges on the repeatability of data processing and calculation. In face of the coming data deluge, it will be increasingly important to be able to seamlessly and automatically move between scientific results, the data used to publish them, and the algorithms used to produce them. As observations and their associated data products, publications, and object metadata are curated by different projects and archived in different locations, establishing the proper linkages between these resources and describing their relationships becomes an essential activity in their curation and preservation. The need for infrastructure supporting these activities is not unique to astronomy, but rather, is common to most scientific disciplines.
In this talk we describe initial efforts to create a semantic knowledge base allowing easier integration and linking of the body of heterogeneous astronomical resources from the ADS, NED, SIMBAD, individual data archives, and the Virtual Observatory. The ultimate goal of this effort is the creation of a semantic layer and index over existing resources, allowing applications to scalably cross boundaries between archives. The proposed approach follows the current best practices in Semantic Computing and the architecture of the web by defining ontologies to describe data, publications, and objects, associating URIs with every resource, and allowing the use of off-the-shelf, open-source technologies and common query standards such as SPARQL. We thus provide a path for VO resources to become part of the global web of linked data, and enable applications to not only query but also reason against the contents of multiple astronomical archives.
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