Vanderbilt, Kristin; Porter,John H.; Lu, Sheng-Shan; Bertrand, Nic; Blankman, David; Guo, Xuebing; He, Honglin; Henshaw, Don; Jeong, Karpjoo; Kim, Eun-Shik; Lin, Chau-Chin; O'Brien, Margaret; Osawa, Takeshi; O' Tuama, Eamonn; Su, Wen; Yang, Haibo. 2017. A prototype system for multilingual data discovery of International Long-Term Ecological Research (ILTER) Network data. Ecological Informatics. 40: 93-101. doi: 10.1016/j.ecoinf.2016.11.011
Shared ecological data have the potential to revolutionize ecological research just as shared genetic sequence data have done for biological research. However, for ecological data to be useful, it must first be discoverable. A broad-scale research topic may require that a researcher be able to locate suitable data from a variety of global, regional and national data providers, which often use different local languages to describe their data. Thus, one of the challenges of international sharing of long-term data is facilitation of multilingual searches. Such searches are hindered by lack of equivalent terms across languages and by uneven application of keywords in ecological metadata. To test whether a thesaurus-based approach to multilingual data searching might be effective, we implemented a prototype web-services-based system for searching International Long-Term Ecological Research Network data repositories. The system builds on the use of a multilingual thesaurus to make searches more complete than would be obtained through search term-translation alone. The resulting system, when coupled to commodity online translation systems, demonstrates the possibility of achieving multilingual searches for ecological data.
Keywords: Thesaurus; Ontology; Data sharing; Translation; Web services