SnowTerm: a terminology database on snow and ice
Controlled vocabularies are useful tools for organizing information. They help to have the specific terminology of an area of knowledge to catalogue and retrieve information and enhance semantic interoperability.. In a controlled vocabulary are collected variants and synonyms of concepts linked together in a logical order, or sorted into categories. SnowTerm is an example of a structured reference multilingual scientific and technical vocabulary, covering the terminology of a specific knowledge domain such as the polar and the mountain environment. The thematic areas, at present, deal with snow and ice physics, snow and ice morphology, snow and ice radiometry, remote sensing and GIS in cryosphere environment, sea ice, avalanches and glaciers. BiodivThes represents a vocabulary of terms covering the field of environment, ecology and biological diversity. It includes both biotic and abiotic concepts. For both vocabularies the identification, acquisition and harmonisation of controlled multilingual terminologies brought to the development of a complete basic reference list of terms in English, partially multilingual. The terminology of these sources was analysed with respect to the degree of semantic relevance in the field excluding both terms too generic or considered as non-pertinent. At present, SnowTerm database contains around 3,700 terms mainly in Italian and English. BiodivThes contains around 1,800 terms In English and Italian. For the vertical structure of the vocabularies, we adopted the Classification Scheme already in use for the development of the CNR EARTh Thesaurus. The hierarchical setup is based on facets; according to its intrinsic features, the structure can be used as a semantic reference system, stable and partially independent from the context. We are implementing a glossary and thematic structure. The possibility of applying different thematic schemes could allow the exploration of concepts according to different perspectives, which may emphasize particular and contingent aspects.