Archive for the ‘Operational Equivalence’ Category

Scientific Lenses over Linked Data… [Operational Equivalence]

Sunday, April 28th, 2013

Scientific Lenses over Linked Data: An approach to support task specifi c views of the data. A vision. by Christian Brenninkmeijer, Chris Evelo, Carole Goble, Alasdair J G Gray, Paul Groth, Steve Pettifer, Robert Stevens, Antony J Williams, and Egon L Willighagen.


Within complex scienti fic domains such as pharmacology, operational equivalence between two concepts is often context-, user- and task-specifi c. Existing Linked Data integration procedures and equivalence services do not take the context and task of the user into account. We present a vision for enabling users to control the notion of operational equivalence by applying scienti c lenses over Linked Data. The scientifi c lenses vary the links that are activated between the datasets which aff ects the data returned to the user.

Two additional quotes from this paper should convince you of the importance of this work:

We aim to support users in controlling and varying their view of the data by applying a scientifi c lens which govern the notions of equivalence applied to the data. Users will be able to change their lens based on the task and role they are performing rather than having one fixed lens. To support this requirement, we propose an approach that applies context dependent sets of equality links. These links are stored in a stand-off fashion so that they are not intermingled with the datasets. This allows for multiple, context-dependent, linksets that can evolve without impact on the underlying datasets and support diff ering opinions on the relationships between data instances. This flexibility is in contrast to both Linked Data and traditional data integration approaches. We look at the role personae can play in guiding the nature of relationships between the data resources and the desired a ffects of applying scientifi c lenses over Linked Data.


Within scienti fic datasets it is common to fi nd links to the “equivalent” record in another dataset. However, there is no declaration of the form of the relationship. There is a great deal of variation in the notion of equivalence implied by the links both within a dataset’s usage and particularly across datasets, which degrades the quality of the data. The scienti fic user personae have very di fferent needs about the notion of equivalence that should be applied between datasets. The users need a simple mechanism by which they can change the operational equivalence applied between datasets. We propose the use of scientifi c lenses.

Obvious questions:

Does your topic map software support multiple operational equivalences?

Does your topic map interface enable users to choose “lenses” (I like lenses better than roles) to view equivalence?

Does your topic map software support declaring the nature of equivalence?

I first saw this in the slide deck: Scientific Lenses: Supporting Alternative Views of the Data by Alasdair J G Gray at: 4th Open PHACTS Community Workshop.

BTW, the notion of equivalence being represented by “links” reminds me of a comment Peter Neubauer (Neo4j) once made to me, saying that equivalence could be modeled as edges. Imagine typing equivalence edges. Will have to think about that some more.