Semantic Mirador: Semantic Web for the Hoi Polloi
Chris Lynnes, Mahabaleshwara Hegde, Richard Strub - Goddard Earth Sciences Data and Information Services Center
Mirador (http://mirador.gsfc.nasa.gov) is a simplified, fast search tool for science data at the GES DISC. The initial incarnation relied on keyword search fields, but some users "don't know what to type in", prompting a point-and-click interface. The intrinsic hierarchy of point-and-click made us gravitate to an ontology for the underlying structure.
Fortunately, semantic web technology is not just for wizards anymore. With a few off-the-shelf tools, a little training and a little help from the Tech Infusion Working Group, a small team of software developers with no prior semantic web experience developed a semantic-web-based drilldown component for Mirador (http://mirador.gsfc.nasa.gov/cgi-bin/mirador/presentNavigation.pl?tree=project&CURRENT_CONTEXT=Projects).
In truth, the current drilldown interface could have been built with conventional database technology. The true value of semantic web will manifest over the next several months as we integrate major applications together, starting with Mirador and Giovanni (http://giovanni.gsfc.nasa.gov), our online analysis tool.
We thank our domain experts for guiding the ontology: Henry Fang, Suraiya Ahmad, Young-in Won, Zhong Liu, Bill Teng. We also wish to thank Ed Seiler and Venku Jayanti for software contributions to Mirador.