Making FAIR vocabularies Findable – VocPopuli and PIDA

VocPopuli and PIDA

The harmonization of metadata vocabularies is a key ingredient of a FAIR digitalization of the scientific process. This motivated the creation of VocPopuli, where vocabularies can be developed collaboratively across larger user groups. To fulfil the FAIR requirements, PIDs need to be assigned to terms and vocabularies alike, which is usually achieved by using a service that allows to dereference these resources in a persistent manner. Such services keep a record of the current location of a particular artefact, and provide a persistent address through which a request is always redirected to the artefact itself. If the hosting location of the artifact moves, the redirection can be updated so that a request to the persistent address still resolves to the resource. PIDA provides this and after getting an overview of the service, we decided that there is a very good opportunity for a collaboration.

After the initial meeting at the HMC Conference 2022, we opened a communication channel to discuss the technical details of implementing PIDA PURLs into VocPopuli. The workflows in VocPopuli were then adjusted to accommodate the use of PIDs over a period of a few weeks. Afterwards, a namespace on PIDA was reserved for vocabularies and terms developed using VocPopuli. Finally, a functionality was added in VocPopuli’s alpha version, such that published vocabularies get PIDA PURLs assigned to them. This is currently done in a semi-manual manner, but it is in the work plan to develop a procedure that automates it further.

The inclusion of PURLs provided by PIDA helped VocPopuli fulfil the Findability requirement for FAIR data. The collaboration between the two teams revealed other potential collaboration directions, for example, the creation of a hosting services for vocabularies.

Additional technical improvements are currently being implemented in VocPopuli, for example: a fully automatic integration of VocPopuli and PIDA. This requires the addition of quality control functions in VocPopuli, such that only relevant metadata vocabularies get assigned PIDA PURLs. Potentially, a workshop or a discussion on the interplay between VocPopuli and PIDA in Jülich is also in discussion.

Making FAIR vocabularies Findable – VocPopuli and PIDA

HMC Tools & Services applied in this Use Case

PIDA is a service providing unique persistent URLs (PURLs) for referencing digital assets on the web. Using our service will help you to ensure that your digital assets remain findable and can be accessed reliably by both humans and machines in the long term.

HMC funded Projects involved in this Use Case

MetaCook: The Metadata Cookbook
In summary, MetaCook creates a framework for the preparation of (1) FAIR Vocabularies, and (2) FAIR Ontologies. The VocPopuli software engages users in a Git-based collaborative composition of controlled vocabularies which are then converted via semi-supervised machine learning into ontologies with the help of OntoFAIRCook.