ICTP Workshop 2007/BlogNotes on Semantic Virtual Observatories

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{{#titlehere:}} Please note that the present pages on the ICTP workshop were obtained from a mediawiki used during the workshop. There may be a number of links that go to missing pages, and other inconsistencies. Much of it is also very informal, and should be seen as workshop notes! From: User:Mathe/BlogEntry: 2007 December 11 08:06:49 UTC

This morning session is on Semantic Virtual Observatories: the new frontier in science and education. This presentation is done by Mauro Messerotti. He says the topic is rather an exotic one. He is involved in multiple initiatives such as eGY -electronic Geophysical Year. He says such initiatives are important in disseminating science information and educating the public.

For this talk, he will focus particularly on this initiative eGY. The initiative has elements of data management and bridging the digital divide. How can eGY add value to bridging the divide. It does this by engaging with NEPAD and relavant UN agencies to see how they can assist. In addition, eGY works with variety of organisation such as CODATA to carry out its mandate and ensure efficient dissemination of the scientific data relating to the initiative. For more details on eGY visit their website at http://www.egy.org/index.php.


Now moving to the core of the presentation. What is a virtual observatory (VO)? VO is a software infrastructure that provides a user with the benefits of a typical observatory but all things are done in a transparent mode. (To get a better definition go to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Virtual_Observatory)


Semantic VO (SVO) relates to adding knowledge to VO. the VO can organized in a variety of way and the structure can yield the ontology and semantics to VO. This means SVO can cope with knowledge. The system will now be able to learn new knowledge and a user is provided with a flexible way to search for information. Recall that VO is defined as software infrastructure and as such we have a number of systems integrated. For example, we have a parser, query builders and processors for providing natural interaction; we also have GUI based on technologies such as Ajax. To better summarize the tools integrated in a VO, we have tools that do:

  • Data discovery
  • Spectral analysis
  • Visualization and data handling- one tool discussed at length is a cMaptool this tool allows to "construct, navigate, share and criticize knowledge models represented as concept maps" for more details go to http://cmap.ihmc.us/download/

Summary VO offers multiple benefits to users. One such benefit is that it provides tools for data search and virtualisation. For more on VO go to http://www.ivoa.net/