Glossary

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Controlled vocabulary A series of terms or concepts which are tightly defined and used uniformly within data to ensure common meaning. This applies to concepts such as named locations, taxa, users, organisations, spatial datums and measurement units. In order to integrate data, it is necessary for common controlled vocabularies to be employed as part of a federated data model.
Contextualisation Is the process of describing the origins of the data in terms of collection process, any limitations inherent in the data, and factors contributing to its interpretation and or quality.
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Embargo   Data submitted to the ÆKOS system can be embargoed, meaning that access to the data via the portal is prohibited for a specified length of time (determined by the data submitter). Data embargoes are an excellent way to ensure that access to your data occurs after any pending publications.
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Federated data / federation   Data is referred to as federated when it is restated from various diverse sources against a common ontology with values drawn from a controlled vocabulary
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Graph   A connected series of data components (or entities). All information and knowledge can be expressed as a network or graph of connected entities if required.
Graph View   A software tool enabling graphs to be viewed.
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Index traits   Traits that are used in indexing.
Indexing A process of recording details extracted from data which allow browsing, searching and filtering of data without having to look inside the stored data itself.
Integration / integrated / integrates   The process of applying additional linkages between data to define their relationships. Data from a single source are typically integrated already with explicitly relevant relationships defined. The process of integration is therefore often about inferring relationships which are not explicit, including those which apply across multiple data sources.
Integrated Site Data   Data can be stored in a file where each record (row) represents a site, a plant, animal or other identification of a sampling unit. The whole file is commonly referred to as a dataset when it is a flat file (e.g., excel, csv file). If the file has a relational structure it can be referred to as a database. Integrated site data in the ÆKOS Data Portal is blended across all datasets or databases from different sources in a way that retains the integrity of the data as it appeared in the original source file. Integration saves researchers lots of time as they don't need to combine disparate data from numerous, different files into one usable derivative. The ÆKOS Data Portal produces the derivative for you as a Species by Site flatfile (csv) or as a postgres or MYSQL database.
Ingestion The process of bringing data into the ÆKOS system which may involve the transfer of metadata, opaque data archives, or the assessment of content and creation of mapping to a federated data model to integrate the data within he ÆKOS system.
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Metadata In its simplest form, metadata is "data about data". For example, information on measurements used, protocols followed, datums referenced, etc...
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Observation data Observation data comprises information about various ‘observable’ items. Some of this information is contextual providing information about how observations were conducted and the setting in which observation took place, whilst other information is directed at the subject(s) of interest and the goals of observation (relating usually to some hypothesis being tested, action being measured, or system being monitored).
Ontology   An ontology is a conceptualisation of a domain – i.e. a structuring/modelling of some portion of reality from a particular view point. Ontologies are significant for ÆKOS because they embody an understanding of the world and provide a structure in which to record ecological knowledge.
Ontological model   Defined as an explicit formal specification of how to represent the objects, concepts and other entities that are assumed to exist in some area of interest and the relationships that hold among them.
Opaque   Refers to where an artefact or object’s content is unknown or hidden. Opaque data archives in the ÆKOS system are files which will store data but where the format and content is not understood by the ÆKOS system services.
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Repository   A digital store for data.
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Semantics   Used to ensure that two concepts, which might appear in different databases in different forms with different names, can be described as truely equivalent. This can be obscured in large databases when two records have the same name but represent different concepts.
Semantic technologies   Technologies which model data using defined concepts and their interrelationships, using (for example) ontologies and structured descriptions.
Semantically consistent Easy to find data because it is uniformly structured and described - once you learn how to read one dataset you know how to read all datasets
Semantically mapped Data that have been modelled for their content meaning and context via an ontology.
Stub(s)   A stub is a small program routine that substitutes for a longer program, possibly to be loaded later or that is located remotely.
Structural model   Describes how the data is stored as a graph within the database and the relationships between the entities within the graph.
Structured description Provides meaning and context and applies controlled vocabularies to give consistent labeling and values for semantic searching of field observations.
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Traits   A trait comprises a label (name) plus a value (typically true/false or one of a define set of alternatives). Traits are then used to enable searching of datasets.
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