Building an effective Semantic Web for health care and the life sciences

M. Dumontier*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Health Care and the Life Sciences (HCLS) are at the leading edge of applying advanced information technologies for the purpose of knowledge management and knowledge discovery. To realize the promise of the Semantic Web as a framework for large-scale, distributed knowledge management for biomedical informatics, substantial investments must be made in technological innovation and social agreement. Building an effective Biomedical Semantic Web will be a long, hard and tedious process. First, domain requirements are still driving new technology development, particularly to address issues of scalability in light of demands for increased expressive capability in increasingly massive and distributed knowledge bases. Second, significant challenges remain in the development and adoption of a well founded, intuitive and coherent knowledge representation for general use. Support for semantic interoperability across a large number of sub-domains (from molecular to medical) requires that rich, machine-understandable descriptions are consistently represented by well formulated vocabularies drawn from formal ontology, and that they can be easily composed and published by domain experts. While current focus has been on data, the provisioning of Semantic Web services, such that they may be automatically discovered to answer a question, will be an essential component of deploying Semantic Web technologies as part of academic or commercial cyberinfrastructure.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)131-135
Number of pages5
JournalSemantic web
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - 2010
Externally publishedYes

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