Faculdade de Letras da Universidade do Porto - OCS, 15th INTERNATIONAL ISKO CONFERENCE

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Claudio Jose Silva Ribeiro, Diones Ramos da Silva

Last modified: 2017-12-19


Access to digital information has allowed the emergence of new types of resources that have provoked a paradigm shift in relation to the existing traditional supports. The new information technologies are creating libraries without walls for pageless books. Better known as virtual libraries, these new forms and supports are redefining the current paradigms on information, communication and even the scope of work of the professionals of the field itself. For that, it is necessary to use concepts related to Knowledge Organization (KO), which seeks to analyze the concepts and their characteristics, the position that each concept occupies and its respective relations within a representational system.

KO enables the structuring and systematization of concepts. These can be organized according to their characteristics, which should contemplate aspects related to the concepts involved in the relationship between parent-child (inheritance) and that can be reflected in the structuring of concepts into classes.

The basic principle of the Virtual Health Library (as know as “BVS” / Fiocruz) is that scientific and technical information is a priority for health, whether for the accomplishment of an efficient and effective decision-making process or for the formulation of public policies for management or research. In view of the expressive load of demand for requests received from the "Contact Us" tool of the BVS / Fiocruz, it was identified the need to create instruments capable of improving the efficiency of the information retrieval process, avoiding ambiguity and bypassing the difficulties in find descriptors that satisfactorily translate researchers' searches.

The recovery process addresses the concern about the organization of the information available in Web environment. This organization should allow the information to be retrieved with greater precision and that the user does not get lost in the searches. The process of organization and search is based on “DeCS” (in Brazilian Portuguese “Descritores em Ciências da Saúde” – Health Sciences Descriptors) vocabulary, which aims to serve as a unique language in the indexing of scientific journals, books, congress proceedings, technical reports and other types of materials available in the “BVS”.

Therefore, it is in this sense that the proposal for the elaboration of an ontology project emerges. This can be considered as a component of knowledge organization and representation, which aims to promote the retrieval of information in “BVS” in the fields of Dengue and Yellow Fever as a pilot. The term ontology originates in the Greek "ontos", being, and "logos", word. In knowledge organization, it is defined as "catalog of types of things".

Ontologies can improve information retrieval processes by organizing the data content and data sources in a given domain. An ontology brings real-world approaching and refers to the use of concept vocabulary, as well as clear and unambiguous relations of knowledge in the domain being analyzed. These concepts should be stated based on characteristics that indicate their composition and their associations in relation to the application context. The use of shared concepts can provide paths for the interconnection of information resources, as it allows the reconciliation of the definitions established for the respective identified facts. The use of these concepts and their representation in models can contribute to increase the semantics of the connections. It is worth noting that the use of models with distinct levels of expressiveness is a current activity in the history of humanity.

In this sense, among the types of ontology identified in literature, we find: as for the degree of formalism - informal, when they can be expressed in natural language; semi-informal, when the natural language has some kind of structuring; semi-formal, when it is expressed in artificial language that is formally defined; and formal - when terms are defined with formal semantics. As for the function - High-level Ontology, describing broader concepts and applicable to any domain; Domain Ontology – which describes concepts and vocabularies related to specific domains; Task Ontology - when describing tasks or activities that can contribute to problem solving; and Application Ontology – which describes concepts that depend on a specific domain. On the other hand, one can also explore a Foundation Ontology, as another categorization resulting from the possibility of using Applied Ontology, seeking usage in order to create patterns and anti-patterns to aid in the modeling and the respective conceptualization of domain knowledge.

Thus, the structuring and systematization of concepts, classes and inheritances, relations, axioms, using the semantic analysis of these elements, in addition to the alignment with DeCS vocabulary are planned objectives for the development of the domain Ontology project, as a way of structuring the concepts of dengue and yellow fever.

The development of this theoretical reference, making use of a bibliographic exploratory analysis with case study, leads us to gather inputs to propose an ontology framework for the domain of Health Sciences within Fiocruz. The use of computational tools in the process of representing the ontology proposal may facilitate the creation of models and metamodels that are later translated into representation languages, such as the RDF (Resource Description Framework) and OWL (Web Ontology Language) languages, besides the SKOS (Simple Knowledge Organization System) formalism.

Finally, it is possible to assure that the ontology’s participating elements contribute to the use of the vocabulary of the domain being researched. The implementation of the ontology, allowing improvement in the processes of search and retrieval of information, will enable the improvement of the efficiency in researches developed within the scope of “BVS” / Fiocruz.