The German Federation for Biological Data (GFBio) is a sustainable, service oriented, national data infrastructure facilitating data sharing for biological and environmental research. Find out more at www.gfbio.org.
Please see the contact section.
Our service has two kinds of people in mind. On one hand, we are providing a single access point to various kinds of terminologies, ranging from simple controlled vocabularies to complex ontologies, for researchers of the biodiversity domain. This means, researchers are able to find, explore and share terminologies. On the other hand our service is for developers for whom the TS provides tools (API and widgets) to reuse terminologies for semantic enhancement of research platforms.
Our suggested citation is as following:
Karam, N.; Mueller-Birn, C.; Fichtmueller, D.; Gleisberg, M.; Bohlen, V; Tolksdorf, R. & Guentsch, A. (eds.) 2014 onwards. The Terminology Server of the German Federation for Biological Data (GFBio) - Server and service of semantic technologies in scientific environments. - hfalsettp://terminologies.gfbio.org/
If you are a researcher and searching for a single access to various terminologies in the biodiversity domain, you should use the TS. You can find the right one for your research and explore their terms. You even could share your own terminology with colleagues and other researchers. As a developer you can use the API and ready-made widgets based on the API we provided to reuse terminologies for semantic enhancement of your platform.
The TS and its public API (Application Programming Interface) provide users with a machine-readable access to terms and their relations for a variety of biodiversity related data. The semantic information stems from the delivered metadata of any term, like the description, their synonyms or most notably the relationship to other terms (broader or narrower). With such information it is possible to classify and use the correct term.
The term "terminology" encompasses several meanings ranging from simple lists of terms to semantically rich ontologies. Unfortunately, there are currently no commonly accepted definitions of the different terminology types (in the biological domain) which leaves room for variation causing them to be used interchangeably depending on the context.
GFBio distinguishes between five different types or formality levels of terminologies with differing levels of specification which are defined in the following section. Some of the terms may be used in a slightly different way in the scientific domain, a fact the user should be aware of when referring to terminologies outside the context of GFBio. Controlled Vocabulary The simplest type of terminology consisting in a finite list of terms without definitions or hierarchical ordering. Glossary A list of terms including an informal definition of their meaning in natural (human-readable) language. Since information expressed in natural language is typically not unambiguous, these specifications are not yet adequate for further processing by computer agents. Taxonomy/Classification A list of terms organized in a hierarchical structure, e.g., by is-afalse relationships, thus providing additional semantics in the relations between their terms which can be interpreted by computer agents. Thesaurus A controlled vocabulary connected via relations between the terms expressing hierarchies (e.g., “narrower/broader term”), associations (e.g., “related term”), or synonym relationships. Ontology An Ontology represents the highest level of formality a terminology can reach. It is a formal representation of a set of concepts and the relationships between them using semantically rich descriptions, allowing a n unambiguous interpretation of classes and term relationships according to logic-based rules.
A term is a single item of the appropriate terminology. As there are different types of terminologies (see above), terms are ranging from simple words without any definition or hierarchical relationship to other words to a rich concepts, owning attributes describing it profoundly and relationships linking it to other concepts.
Internal terminologies are hosted locally at the Terminology Service in a Semantic Web repository. External terminologies are only registered at the Terminology Service and are remotely accessed via their own services. Seeing the term hierarchy or using the suggest functionality in the search works only for internal terminologies. Some metadata is not provided from external terminologies as well. The speed of the search in external terminologies relies on their API and is mostly slower than in internal ones.
Among the terminologies currently included in the terminology server are:
The Terminology Server will be continuously enriched with new terminologies.
The external terminologies currently connected to the TS are:
You can provide your own terminologies to the Terminology Service and directly benefit from the offered services and tools. Your terminology will be available via our API and will be connected to the widgets for search and visualization.
At the moment you can contact us via email and send your terminology. Later, we will provide the possibility to upload files directly.
Yes, this is possible!