Unified Astronomy Thesaurus

The Unified Astronomy Thesaurus (UAT) is an open, interoperable and community-supported thesaurus of astronomical and astrophysical concepts and their relationships.  It unifies existing divergent and isolated astronomy and astrophysics thesauri into a single high-quality, freely-available open thesaurus formalizing astronomical concepts and their inter-relationships.  We expect that the Unified Astronomy Thesaurus will be further enhanced and updated through a collaborative effort involving broad community participation; anyone is able to suggest an addition or revision and that comment will be subjected to a thorough expert review process.  The UAT is supported by many leading astronomical institutions, professional associations, journal publishers, learned societies, and data repositories as a standard astronomical terminology.

The main impetus behind the creation of a single thesaurus has been the wish to support semantic enrichment of the literature, but we expect that use of the UAT (along with other vocabularies and ontologies currently being developed in our community) will be much broader and will have a positive impact on the discovery of a wide range of astronomy resources, including data products and services.

UAT Objectives

The Unified Astronomy Thesaurus is meant to be:

  1. Open: anyone interested in astronomy or astrophysics can contribute to the UAT by suggesting additions, refinements, revisions and modifications to thesaurus terms or relationships;
  2. Interoperable: the UAT is available in a standard format (such as SKOS) so that its concepts can act as a bridge between disparate systems and be embedded into a variety of applications; and
  3. Community-supported: the UAT is supported by major stakeholders within the astronomical and astrophysical communities for the benefit of all.

Browse the Thesaurus

Currently there are three ways to explore the UAT online; a hierarchical browse, an alphabetical browse, and a visual dendrogram.

The alphabetical browse is great if you’re curious if a certain term is included in the UAT.  You can easily jump to the term in the list and then click on it to bring up some basic information about the term.

If you’re more interested in the overall structure of the thesaurus, then the hierarchical browse and visual dendrogram might be a better option.  The hierarchical browse shows the terms in context and also lets you click in to see details on each term, such as scope notes and synonyms.

A dendrogram is a diagram used to show the hierarchical relationships between clusters, or words in the case of the UAT. This interactive dendrogram allows you to click on nodes to either expand or collapse the terms. When you expand a term you are able to explore that term’s child terms.Likewise the dendrogram is used to show the relationships between words in the UAT and will allow you to expand or collapse terms in a more visual way, although it lacks the extra term details.

Interested in Helping or Using the UAT?

The thesaurus is currently in a beta stage, while we finalize how the work will be managed and distributed (this will include a SKOS thesaurus). To express your interest in contributing to the UAT or using the UAT for development purposes, join the Google Group: https://groups.google.com/d/forum/uat-users

More Information

Please visit the website for the Unified Astronomy Thesaurus for more information about this exciting project!


About Katie Frey

Katie Frey leads the development of the Unified Astronomy Thesaurus, a community supported linked data vocabulary for sorting, filtering, and exploring astronomical literature, data sets, images, etc.

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