Cheng to discuss classification systems at international workshop

Jessica Yi-Yun Cheng
Jessica Yi-Yun Cheng

Doctoral student Jessica Cheng will present her research at the 18th European Knowledge Organization Systems (NKOS) Workshop, which will take place on September 13 in Porto, Portugal. The workshop, held in conjunction with the International Conference on Theory and Practice of Digital Libraries (TPDL 2018) and the Dublin Core Metadata Initiative (DCMI 2018), will explore the potential of knowledge organization systems (KOS) such as classification systems, taxonomies, thesauri, ontologies, and lexical databases in the context of current developments and possibilities.
 Cheng will present the paper, "Full of Beans: A Study on the Alignment of Two Flowering Plants Classification Systems," which she coauthored with Bertram Ludäscher, professor and director of the iSchool's Center for Informatics Research in Science and Scholarship. In the paper, the researchers examine the feasibility of aligning two classification systems for flowering plants using a logic-based, Region Connection Calculus (RCC-5) approach.

"In our approach, we align pairwise concepts X and Y from two taxonomies using five basic set relations: congruence (X=Y), inclusion (X>Y), inverse inclusion (X<Y), overlap (X><Y), and disjointedness (X!Y). With some of the RCC-5 relationships among the Fabaceae family (beans family) and the Sapindaceae family (maple family) uncertain, we anticipate that the merging of the two classification systems will lead to numerous Possible Worlds, or merged solutions," Cheng explained.
 Their research demonstrates how logic-based alignment can lead to ambiguities and show multiple merged solutions, which would not have been possible if aligning taxonomies, classifications, or other KOS manually. Cheng and Ludäscher believe that in the future this approach can be implemented for semantic interoperability issues among classifications in the information science community or even in other higher level KOS such as ontologies.

Cheng's research interests involve topics related to the semantic web, linked open data, and ontologies. This project was the outcome of a project from Cheng's Integrative Biology course (IB 335) and an independent study taught by Stephen R. Downie, a professor of plant biology at Illinois.