U.S. Government Dataset Search Opens Data.gov to Scientists

To help scientists easily find relevant government data for their research, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute’s (RPI) Tetherless World Research Constellation (TWC) team and Elsevier’s SciVerse websites collaborated to make access to Data.gov easier for the world’s research scientists. Developed by the renowned RPI TWC, which explores and develops Semantic technologies to make the Web more natural to use, the new search tool, called U.S. Government Dataset Search, will live on Elsevier’s SciVerse websites. SciVerse provides the global scientific research community with searchable access to the world’s largest source of peer-reviewed scientific content.

In addition to providing direct access to the raw datasets on Data.gov, U.S. Government Dataset Search simultaneously searches the Linking Open Government Data (LOGD) portal at Rensselaer’s Tetherless World Research Constellation. The portal hosts Data.gov datasets that have been converted and enhanced with Semantic Web technologies. Semantic enhancements to the datasets make them much more usable and searchable to a variety of applications, enabling multiple datasets to be linked even when the underlying structure or format of each is different. Completely unseen to the average user, this semantic technology resides below the surface of the Web, augmenting rather than replacing traditional search engines. Computer scientists and developers can also take the semantic coding and utilize and enhance it independently.

“When we enhance data with semantics, we make it much more usable to a researcher than raw data,” said the project lead for the application and Rensselaer research engineer John Erickson. “Through this application and others developed within the Tetherless World, we are empowering researchers with new tools for the basic practice of science by introducing semantics into the exploration of data.” Erickson was joined in the research by research scientist Li Ding, graduate student Dominic DiFranzo, as well the professors who lead the research group, Deborah McGuinness, and Peter Fox.

The Tetherless World Research Constellation under Semantic Web co-inventor Professor Jim Hendler, has been a key partner with Data.gov, studying and developing new ways to use as well as to provide access to Data.gov’s free public data. The TWC Wiki is a wealth of cutting-edge thinking, demos, applications and more in the field of utilizing government data through Semantic Web technologies.

Information and images courtesy of RPI. Learn more.

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