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USE CASES: science applications

From: Jonathan Borden <jonathan@openhealth.org>
Date: Tue, 12 Mar 2002 12:02:08 -0500
Message-ID: <05c701c1c9e7$a8980d10$0a2e249b@nemc.org>
To: "WebOnt WG" <www-webont-wg@w3.org>
Now that the WD is published, I have some uses cases for consideration in
the next version of the WD. These use cases involve scientific applications
and are a terrific fit (I think) for description logic:

1) Bioinformatics/Healthcare
2) Astrophysics/Space Science

Bioinformatics and Healthcare Informatics are fields that already have
active DL communities developing DL ontologies, yet the application of such
ontologies (e.g. UMLS, SNOMED, OpenGALEN) has lagged its potential. There
are a variety of reasons, but importantly there is a huge move to bring
bioinformatics and healthcare information on the Web. Both HL7 and the ASTM
E31 Healthcare Informatics standards groups have developed XML standards for
healthcare information, respectively the HL7 CDA and the ASTM E2182/2183 XML
Clinical Document specifications.

I am the technical contact for ASTM E2182/E2183 -- which were ratified early
this year and are soon to be published by the ASTM http://www.astm.org --
draft versions of the DTDs are available at
http://www.openhealth.org/ASTM/ -- note that I am converting these document
formats into the XQuery/RELAXNG non-XML type language -- see the respective
documents of type *.rnx. From these XML Schema will be generated.

Moreover the NCBI/NLM is publishing pubmed references and many articles in
an XML format etc. These are indexed with MeSH.

Medical images are transmitted using the DICOM protocol which is also DL
friendly (tag-value based)

The use case for OWL is enable the development of web enabled ontologies
describing each of these formats, enabling distributed inferencing etc.

The second field is Astrophysics/Space Science. As Jim Hendler has
mentioned, groups in NASA (and funded my NASA) are interested in SW
applications. The goal is development of a "virtual observatory" linking
distributed databases. The databases contain images, XML, spectra, etc. This
use case is both an application of the multimedia database, as well as a
need to integrate multiple ontologies each describing various aspects of
physics, chemistry, space science, planetary science with observational data
from telescopes, observatories, spectra, planetary missions etc.

In both of these fields, it will be essential to integrate multimedia and
XML based information. My hope is that OWL will allow the specification of
mappings from various multimedia formats and other XML into RDF.


Jonathan Borden, M.D.
Chair, ASTM E31.28 Electronic Healthcare Records
Member, NASA Science Archives Working Group
Received on Tuesday, 12 March 2002 12:04:55 GMT

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