Vocabulary Services Interest Group - TAB Review

Interest Group Title:  Vocabulary Services [charter]

Proposers: Stephan Zednik, Simon Cox

Date Received by TAB: Passed to TAB after conclusion of Community Review on 29 April 2015

Date Review Completed:  8 June (AT)

TAB Reviewers:  Andrew Treloar, Peter Wittenberg

Summary:  

 

TAB recommends that this group consider whether they want to stay an IG or whether they should become a WG (or spin off a WG) based on the number of outputs they are proposing to produce.

 

Response to TAB Comments is below (uploaded document)

 

Revised Charter text is below, with changes highlighted (uploaded document)

 

Focus and Fit:

(Are the Interest Group objectives aligned with the RDA mission ?  Is the scope too large for effective progress, too small for an RDA effort, or not appropriate for the RDA?  Overall, is this a worthwhile effort for the RDA to take on?  Is this an effort that adds value over and above what is currently being done within the community?)

 

The objectives are aligned with the mission in that effective use of vocabularies (as noted in the charter) underpins a number of infrastructure elements. The scope seems appropriate for RDA, particularly given that a large piece of the work will involve coordination across existing RDA activities.  In fact, all communities are creating vocabulary sets that could be useful for others in the way described by the group, but most of them are neither visible nor accessible nor easily interpretable.  It would be great to have a harmonization activity as sketched. 

 

Capacity:

(Does the initial membership list include sufficient expertise, and disciplinary and international representation?  Are the people involved in the Interest Group sufficient to make tangible progress?  What individuals or organizations are missing?) 

 

The membership listed is a good start, but it is noted that with three exceptions (IE, UK, AU), there is no-one outside the US. Surely there are European projects working in this area who could also be included?  In Europe at least CLARIN and ELIXIR did work on this, the EUDAT project has a Working Group on related issues, the EUON initiative wants to find simple solutions for practitioners and that the Human Brain Project also wanted to start an initiative. So these groups should be contacted.

Here are a few possible names: Dieter van Uytvanck (CLARIN), Rob Hoofd (ELIXIR), Yann le Franc, James Malone (EUDAT, EUON), Sean Hill (HBP)

Impact and Engagement:

(Is it likely that the Interest Group will engage the intended community?  Is there evidence that the research community wants this?  Will the outcome(s) of the Interest Group foster data sharing and/or exchange?)

 

The IG appears to be planning to engage with communities through existing RDA IGs; that is, by performing a coordination/value-adding function. It talks about aiming to "represent all stakeholders involved in the controlled vocabulary lifecycle in research domains: content producers; maintainers; and consumers", but it isn't clear how this will be done, or that there are representatives of all of these categories involved in the group.

 

As to whether the research community wants this, no evidence is provided. It can be inferred that the work of this group will lead to better coordinated infrastructure solutions, which presumably would make the lives of researchers easier. But some evidence would be nice.

 

The impact of the results could be great if sufficient people from various communities are engaged and feel represented. The IG finding phase could and should be used to get enough of the various players interested and engaged including people with different roles (content producers; maintainers; and consumers).  The need for a systemic solution is great, since currently this vocabulary landscape is completely scattered and not harmonized.

 

In addition to the above comments, the group is encouraged to consider the following aspects:

  • machine readability/processibility (which is probably included but not made explicit)
  • looking for a systemic infrastructural approach, i.e. having a registry mechanism that allows people to easily find such vocabularies for various purposes

 

Recommendation:  

Charter is Sufficient __; Charter Requires Revision X  Charter is Rejected __

Comments:

 

Please address the comments above and resubmit.



  • Peter Wittenburg's picture

    Author: Peter Wittenburg

    Date: 16 Jun, 2015

    Summary:  
     
    TAB recommends accepting this group and suggest to use the IG phase to consolidate and define priorities, but soon come up with suggestions fro WGs.
     
    Focus and Fit:
    (Are the Interest Group objectives aligned with the RDA mission ?  Is the scope too large for effective progress, too small for an RDA effort, or not appropriate for the RDA?  Overall, is this a worthwhile effort for the RDA to take on?  Is this an effort that adds value over and above what is currently being done within the community?)
     
    Agree with the first review. VSIG fits extremely well with RDA's mission and serves a desperate need. In fact all communities are creating vocabulary sets that could be useful for others in the way described by the group, but most of them are neither visible nor accessable nor easily interpretable.  It would be great to have a harmonization as sketched. In addition to what the group described I would like to ask them to consider the following aspects:
    - machine readability/processibility (which is probably included but not made explicit)
    - looking for a systemic approach, i.e. having a registry mechanism that allows people to easily find such vocabularies for vaarious pruposes
     
    DFIG should also be very interested in this activity and should follow it.
     
    To start as an IG makes sense. Indeed when the group has consolidated they should think of WGs as soon as possible on specific aspects to come to recommendations..
     
    Capacity:
    (Does the initial membership list include sufficient expertise, and disciplinary and international representation?  Are the people involved in the Interest Group sufficient to make tangible progress?  What individuals or organizations are missing?) 
     
    The membership listed is a good start, but it is noted that with three exceptions (IE, UK, AU), there is no-one outside the US. In Europe I know at least that CLARIN and ELIXIR did work on this, the EUDAT project has a Working Grpoup on related issues, the EUON initiative wants to find simple solutions for practitioners and that the Human Brain Project also wanted to start an initiative. So these groups should be contacted.
    Here are a few names: Dieter van Uytvanck (CLARIN), Rob Hoofd (ELIXIR), Yann le Franc, James Malone (EUDAT, EUON), Sean Hill (HBP)
     
    Impact and Engagement:
    (Is it likely that the Interest Group will engage the intended community?  Is there evidence that the research community wants this?  Will the outcome(s) of the Interest Group foster data sharing and/or exchange?)
     
    The impact of the results could be great if sufficient people from various communities are engaged and feel represented. I guess that the IG finding phase could and should be used to get enough of the various players interested and engaged including people with different roles (content producers; maintainers; and consumers).
    The need for a systemic solution is great, since currently this vocabulary landscape is completely scattered and not harmonized.
     
    Recommendation:  
    Charter is Sufficient __; Charter Requires Revision X  Charter is Rejected __
    Comments:

  • Andrew Treloar's picture

    Author: Andrew Treloar

    Date: 04 Nov, 2015

    The addition of an objective to spin off a working group is welcome.

    On the request for harmonisation across RDA, they list a number of groups with which they plan to interact. This is fine.

    On the request for additional non US members, they state "The full list of updated participants will be available on our updated charter proposal." This list does not appear in the V2 proposal. We requested it, and I think we should see it before accepting.

    On the question of Impact and Engagement, the response is acceptable.

    I don't think we should accept until they provide the list of updated participants. I realise this means going back to them again, but I think it is important.

submit a comment