Control Your Vocabulary:
Real-World Applications of Semantic Technology
June 9, 2010

Below are listed questions that were submitted during the NISO Data Interoperability webinar. Answers from the presenters will be added when available. Not all the questions could be responded to during the live webinar, so those that could not be addressed at the time are also included below.


  • Keynote Presentation: An Overview of the Semantic Landscape
    Marjorie M.K. Hlava, President and Chairman, Access Innovations / Data Harmony
  • VIVO: Enabling National Networking of Scientists
    Valrie Davis, Outreach Librarian for Agricultural Sciences, Marston Science Library, University of Florida
    Jon Corson-Rikert, Head of Information Services, Albert R. Mann Library, Cornell University
  • Applying Smart Content: A Case Study Approach
    Helen Parr, Director of Online Publishing, Elsevier

Feel free to contact us if you have any additional questions about library, publishing, and technical services standards, standards development, or if you have have suggestions for new standards, recommended practices, or areas where NISO should be engaged.

NISO Webinar Questions and Answers

  1. How do you deal with conflicting data from different sources? E.g., a pub-list is imported from an external source and then corrected locally; then the external source updates their version....

    Answer (Valrie Davis): This varies according to the data. For example, we would put more weight on a citation received from PubMed over a citation manually inputted. These types of data policies need to be made locally, based on context.

  2. How closely have the VIVO and the Fedora Projects been connected in their development, and is there a plan to connect them more in the future?

    Answer (Valrie Davis): Elly Cramer, from Cornell, is answering this one for you. Will send it soon!

  3. Is the tagging of Lancet Oncology articles for Embase done by Lancet Oncology or by Embase staff?

  4. It was a little unclear during the presentations how private data is handled in VIVO. Can you supply a little more information about that?

    Answer (Valrie Davis): As all data in VIVO can be shared and reused - and is a part of the linked data cloud - VIVO does not collect any private data.

  5. What kind of feedback are you getting re the use of semantic technology in your projects? That is, are you seeing large numbers of adoption, or greater use of the content since applying semantic technology?

    Answer (Marjorie Hlava): We see a lot of interest and shifting of the definitions of semantic technology from what Tim Berners Lee envisioned to a broader application and meaning.  Where the term is used to mean "word" or "text" I think there is broad adoption. 

  6. How much of the tagging and work is done manually, and how much is automated? Do you expect that the automation will grow as things move forward?

    Answer (Marjorie Hlava): We automate everything we can. We have one database which used to be done using 31 people which is now maintained by 5. FTE. We use the Data harmony Automation tool suite for our work. Proquest CSA has reached a 6.7 fold increase in productivity,  American Waterworks has one person doing more than the four they used before automation. IEEE is covering much more data with less need to work on the indexing using these tools.  I think we will see even more human assisted work int he future. Use the humans to do the intellectual work, let the machines do the things which can be automated.

  7. How broadly do you think semantic technologies will be used in the future? Say, in five to ten years? What are the main problems slowing uptake?
    Answer (Marjorie Hlava): Protégé ( and Swoogle ( are the only declared Semantic search softwares and neither one has gotten out of the lab as yet. They are excellent for generating government support but have not proven themselves for large semantic data sets. I think things will go to a more pragmatic approach using some old technology paired with the ever growing power of the computers that support the systems.