The American Institute of Physics (AIP) and IOP Publishing (IOP) have jointly announced the gift of a new astronomy thesaurus called the Unified Astronomy Thesaurus (UAT) to the American Astronomical Society (AAS) that will help improve future information discovery for researchers.
The AAS will make the UAT freely available for development and use within the astronomy community, while ensuring the thesaurus remains relevant and useful. Further development of the UAT will be undertaken by the John G. Wolbach Library at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics in collaboration with the Astrophysics Data System (ADS) and the International Virtual Observatory Alliance (IVOA) to enhance and extend the thesaurus to ensure that it continues to meet the needs of the astronomy community.
Adoption of the thesaurus within the ADS will result in better linking with the majority of astronomy research journal articles through a common vocabulary, thereby greatly improving the accuracy of information discovery.
The creation of the UAT is a result of the combination of two separate initiatives to develop thesauri as part of semantic enrichment projects by AIP and IOP. The donation of this useful tool to the AAS will help expose relationships within content across multiple publishers and service providers for the benefit of the community as a whole.
The thesaurus will be used in semantic technologies to enable researchers to execute faster, more accurate information searches and ultimately improve the discoverability of research. With many thousands of resources being published each year in the field of astronomy, these kinds of tools are vital to ensure that researchers continue to be able to find relevant information quickly and ultimately improve the discoverability of research. This applies as much to data, web services and other resources, as it does to the bibliographic resources to which thesauri have traditionally been applied.
The work to combine the thesauri has been carried out by Access Innovations Inc., a privately held company that specializes in information management and database creation products and services.
Chris Biemesderfer, Director of Publishing at AAS, said of the gift "It's both generous and foresighted for AIP and IOP to donate this work to the community, at a time when so much attention is focused on enabling semantic capabilities in scholarly research and communication. The AAS is grateful to the publishers for the timely contribution. It's exciting for the development team to receive a product that is as well thought through as this thesaurus, and the Society is proud to support the research community through partnerships like the UAT."
Mark Cassar, Publisher at AIP, said, "Information discovery and retrieval are essential to advance research in all the physical sciences. This thesaurus will give astronomers and astrophysicists a more comprehensive language tool to improve data searches across disciplines. AIP is pleased to play a role in this collaboration and looks forward to seeing the benefits of UAT within the research community."
Graham McCann, Head of Product Management and Innovation at IOP, said, "This is an exciting and ambitious collaboration that will have real long-term benefits for researchers. IOP's investment in semantic enrichment is a great example of how publishers serve the scientific community by underpinning the scholarly communications process using the very latest technologies."
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Access Innovations, Inc.
Founded in 1978, the privately held Access Innovations, Inc. offers an extensive line of information management and database creation products and services. The company's suite of Data Harmony products provides thesaurus/taxonomy construction and content management tools to industry publishers, web services, corporations, associations, and government agencies with large intranets. Access Innovations, Inc. also offers specialized knowledge domains for licensing. Its taxonomy library covers a wide range of fields and disciplines with customization services.
The American Astronomical Society
The American Astronomical Society (AAS, http://aas.org), established 1899, is the major organization of professional astronomers in North America. The membership (~7,000) also includes physicists, mathematicians, geologists, engineers and others whose research interests lie within the broad spectrum of subjects now comprising contemporary astronomy. The mission of the American Astronomical Society is to enhance and share humanity's scientific understanding of the universe.
Astrophysics Data System
The SAO/NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS, http://adswww.harvard.edu) is a Digital Library portal for researchers in Astronomy and Physics, operated by the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory (SAO) under a NASA grant. The ADS maintains three bibliographic databases containing more than 9.7 million records: Astronomy and Astrophysics, Physics, and arXiv e-prints. The main body of data in the ADS consists of bibliographic records, which are searchable through highly customizable query forms, and full-text scans of much of the astronomical literature which can be browsed or searched via our full-text search interface. Integrated in its databases, the ADS provides access and pointers to a wealth of external resources, including electronic articles, data catalogs and archives. We currently have links to over 9.4 million records maintained by our collaborators.
American Institute of Physics
The American Institute of Physics (AIP, http://aip.org) is an organization of 10 physical science societies, representing more than 135,000 scientists, engineers, and educators. As one of the world's largest publishers of scientific information in physics, AIP employs innovative publishing technologies and offers publishing services for its Member Societies. AIP's suite of publications includes 15 journals, three of which are published in partnership with other organizations; magazines, including its flagship publication Physics Today; and the AIP Conference Proceedings series. Through its Physics Resources Center, AIP also delivers valuable services and expertise in education and student programs, science communications, government relations, career services for science and engineering professionals, statistical research, industrial outreach, and the history of physics and other sciences.
The Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, John G. Wolbach library
Headquartered in Cambridge, Mass., the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (CfA) is a joint collaboration between the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory and the Harvard College Observatory. CfA scientists, organized into six research divisions, study the origin, evolution and ultimate fate of the universe. The Wolbach Library (http://www.cfa.harvard.edu/lib) is dedicated to providing timely information and research services to the staff at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (CfA), the Harvard University and Smithsonian Institution communities, and the international astronomical community.
IOP Publishing (IOP, http://ioppublishing.org) provides publications through which leading-edge scientific research is distributed worldwide. Beyond IOP's core journals program of 69 publications, high-value scientific information is made easily accessible through an ever-evolving portfolio of community websites, magazines, open access conference proceedings and a multitude of electronic services. The company is focused on making the most of new technologies and continually improving electronic interfaces to make it easier for researchers to find exactly what they need, when they need it, in the format that suits them best. IOP Publishing is part of the Institute of Physics, a leading scientific society with over 45,000 international members. The Institute aims to advance physics for the benefit of all by working to advance physics research, application and education; and engaging with policy makers and the public to develop awareness and understanding of physics. Any financial surplus earned by IOP Publishing goes to support science through the activities of the Institute.
International Virtual Observatories Alliance
The International Virtual Observatory Alliance (IVOA, http://www.ivoa.net) was formed in June 2002 with a mission to "facilitate the international coordination and collaboration necessary for the development and deployment of the tools, systems and organizational structures necessary to enable the international utilization of astronomical archives as an integrated and interoperating virtual observatory." The IVOA now comprises 20 virtual observatory programs from Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Europe, France, Germany, Hungary, India, Italy, Japan, Russia, Spain, the United Kingdom, Ukraine, and the United States and inter-governmental organizations (ESA and ESO).