Automated tagging of environmental data using a novel SKOS formatted environmental thesaurus

Daniel G. Wright, Kathryn A. Harrison, John Watkins

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (SciVal)


There is increasing need to use the widest range of data to address issues of environmental management and change, which is reflected in increasing emphasis from government funding agencies for better management and access to environmental data. Bringing together different environmental datasets to confidently enable integrated analysis requires reference to common standards and definitions, which are frequently lacking in environmental data, due to the broad subject area and lack of metadata. Automatic inclusion within datasets of controlled vocabulary concepts from publicly available standard vocabularies facilitates accurate annotation and promotes efficiency of metadata creation. To this end, we have developed a thesaurus capable of describing environmental chemistry datasets. We demonstrate a novel method for tagging datasets, via insertion of this thesaurus into a Laboratory Information Management System, enabling automated tagging of data, thus promoting semantic interoperability between tagged data resources. Being web available, and formatted using the Simple Knowledge Organisation System (SKOS) semantic standard, this thesaurus is capable of providing links both to and from other relevant thesauri, thus facilitating a linked data approach. Future developments will see extension of the thesaurus by the user community, in terms of both concepts included and links to externally hosted vocabularies. By employing a Linked Open Data approach, we anticipate that Web-based tools will be able to use concepts from the thesaurus to discover and link data to other information sources, including use in national assessment of the extent and condition of environmental resources.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)103-110
Number of pages8
JournalEarth Science Informatics
Issue number1
Early online date15 Oct 2014
Publication statusPublished - 01 Mar 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • thesaurus
  • vocabularies
  • metadata
  • annotation
  • standards
  • SKOS
  • data tagging
  • environmental chemistry


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