A water conservation digital library using ontologies

Date12 April 2011
Published date12 April 2011
AuthorLukasz Ziemba,Camilo Cornejo,Howard W. Beck
Subject MatterInformation & knowledge management,Library & information science
A water conservation digital
library using ontologies
Lukasz Ziemba, Camilo Cornejo and Howard W. Beck
Agricultural and Biological Engineering Department, University of Florida,
Gainesville, Florida, USA
Purpose – The paper’s aims is to present research that evaluates a technology that assists in
organizing and retrieving knowledge stored in a variety of forms (books, papers, models, decision
support systems, databases) through a real world application.
Design/methodology/approach – Ontology has been used to manage the Water Conservation
Digital Library in Florida, USA, which holds a dynamic collection of various types of digital resources
in the domain of urban water conservation. The ontology based back-end powers a fully operational
web interface, available at: http://library.conservefloridawater.org
Findings – The system has demonstrated numerous benefits of the ontology application, including
easier and more precise finding of resources, information sharing and reuse, and has proved to
effectively facilitate information management.
Research limitations/implications A large and dynamic number of concepts makes it difficult to
keep the ontology consistent and to accurately manually catalog resources. To address these issues,
ongoing research focuses on the area of information extraction with the aid of natural language
processing techniques.
Originality/value – The paper presents a real-world-verified application of ontology to a digital
library. It may be of potential interest for anyone who needs to effectively manage a collection of
digital resources.
Keywords Digital libraries,Worldwide web, Information management,United States of America,
Classificationschemes, Water supply
Paper type Research paper
1. Introduction
The diminishing availability of water in many areas of the world emphasizes the need
for better water resources management. One such area is the state of Flo rida, USA,
where ongoing developments in the field of water resources result in increasing
amounts of water related information being generated by the university system, state
agencies, water utilities, consulting agencies and other organizations. A plethora of
information types on water resource management has been produced, such as technical
reports and other types of publications, experimental data and other data sets, decision
support systems, simulation models and more. To facilitate making water related
information available in an organized fashion, the Water Conservation Digital Library
(WCDL) (http://library.conservefloridawater.org) was established. The main objectives
of the library are identifying, organizing and making accessible various types of
information in the domain of urban water conservation in Florida. For this purpose an
information management system was developed that integrates all aspects of
information and delivers content to decision makers. The core of the system is an
ontology containing all relevant information.
The current issue and full text archive of this journal is available at
Web sites mentioned in this article were accessed in February 2010.
Received 4 March 2010
Revised 5 May 2010
Accepted 21 May 2010
The Electronic Library
Vol. 29 No. 2, 2011
pp. 200-211
qEmerald Group Publishing Limited
DOI 10.1108/02640471111125168

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