Emerging practices for mapping and linking life sciences data using RDF - A case series

M.S. Marshall*, R. Boyce, H.F. Deus, J. Zhao, E.L. Willighagen, M. Samwald, E. Pichler, J. Hajagos, E. Prud'hommeaux, S. Stephens

*Corresponding author for this work

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Members of the W3C Health Care and Life Sciences Interest Group (HCLS IG) have published a variety of genomic and drug-related data sets as Resource Description Framework (RDF) triples. This experience has helped the interest group define a general data workflow for mapping health care and life science (HCLS) data to RDF and linking it with other Linked Data sources. This paper presents the workflow along with four case studies that demonstrate the workflow and addresses many of the challenges that may be faced when creating new Linked Data resources. The first case study describes the creation of linked RDF data from microarray data sets while the second discusses a linked RDF data set created from a knowledge base of drug therapies and drug targets. The third case study describes the creation of an RDF index of biomedical concepts present in unstructured clinical reports and how this index was linked to a drug side-effect knowledge base. The final case study describes the initial development of a linked data set from a knowledge base of small molecules. This paper also provides a detailed set of recommended practices for creating and publishing Linked Data sources in the HCLS domain in such a way that they are discoverable and usable by people, software agents, and applications. These practices are based on the cumulative experience of the Linked Open Drug Data (LODD) task force of the HCLS IG. While no single set of recommendations can address all of the heterogeneous information needs that exist within the HCLS domains, practitioners wishing to create Linked Data should find the recommendations useful for identifying the tools, techniques, and practices employed by earlier developers. In addition to clarifying available methods for producing Linked Data, the recommendations for metadata should also make the discovery and consumption of Linked Data easier. (C) 2012 Elsevier B. V. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2-13
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Web Semantics
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2012


  • Linked Data
  • Semantic web
  • Health care
  • Life sciences
  • Data integration
  • WEB

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