Item talk:Q152412

From geokb

We've started building up a library of linkable research method concepts as GeoKB classes, starting with the methods section of the USGS Thesaurus. While this is not a comprehensive source, by any means, it includes a good representation of USGS vernacular in this area and gives us a conceptual foundation for continued growth of the concept.

Linkable research methodology references in the GeoKB gives us an important rallying point for a couple of key use cases:

  1. As we populate publications, datasets, models, and other entities along with knowledge representations for claims/statements about those and other entities derived from scientific research, linking to the associated research methods (field and lab methods, computational and modeling methods, etc.) gives us an important filter to leverage in making selections on what we can use in different circumstances.
  2. For GeoKB uses in scientific capacity assessment, we want to know about the knowledge, skills, and capabilities in research methods employed by our people and teams.

Query for methods

The following query may prove useful for pulling the full classification of research methods, including alternate names, for use in matching with a data source.

PREFIX wd: <>
PREFIX wdt: <>

SELECT ?method ?methodLabel ?method_alt_label ?subclass_of ?subclass_ofLabel
  ?method wdt:P2* wd:Q152412 ; # Gets all subclasses of research method
          wdt:P2 ?subclass_of . # gets the subclass identifier itself so we can graph this
    ?method skos:altLabel ?method_alt_label . # gets any aliases individually so we can run name matching
    FILTER (lang(?method_alt_label)='en')
  SERVICE wikibase:label { bd:serviceParam wikibase:language "en" . }

Try it!

USGS Thesaurus Source

The [USGS Thesaurus collection of methods]( provided a reasonable starting point for this concept as these are terms in broad use across the USGS. They show up in things like our personnel profile page expertise terms and dataset metadata. Bringing these into the GeoKB knowledge representation requires a few design choices.


Within the broader knowledge context of the GeoKB, we placed these under the following concept classification:

entity -> spatio-temporal entity -> means -> method -> research method

We may revisit this in future as we continue to work through query use cases.

Initially, we opted to bring all items in pretty much as represented but using subclass relationships vs. the broader/narrower Simple Knowledge Organization System (SKOS) language used in the Thesaurus.

Alternate Labels

We incorporated most non-preferred terms as aliases/alternate labels for the time being, but we need to reexamine contextualization for alternate labels on the whole at some point. For now simply having a set of labels that apply for a given item will help meet a number of needs, but we eventually need to know things about under what context or circumstances a concept can be known by a different label. We will handle this using the "with" predicate as a qualifier in the Wikibase model that corresponds well to both SKOS and Web Ontology Language (OWL) models.


Our Wikibase implementation constrains descriptions to 250 characters, but the USGS Thesaurus has a number of longer descriptions. We made a design decision to handle this by only using the first sentence of a longer description and then truncating any cases where that first sentence was longer than 250 characters. This may result in clunky descriptions we'll address later. While we could conceivably modify this limit, it is a useful constraint. There are interesting details in descriptions for some USGS Thesaurus terms that we would likely want to examine as organization into claims for the items.

See Also

The USGS Thesaurus incorporates see also relationships between terms, which provide very useful connections across groups of terms (e.g., how research methods are employed within certain kinds of products or lines of research). Our current see also property is of the URL type and will not accommodate these relationships. However, we are likely to change this in the Wikibase instance as we bring more clarity to what the same as relationship entails. Claims that are currently see also will be examined to see if we can reasonably shift those to same as predicates, freeing up the ability to reconfigure see also.