The Species Thesaurus is a species information database comprising taxonomy and species characteristics. Utilizing the strengths of web semantic techniques, the Species Thesaurus tries to connect linkages between each species’ characteristics and multiple fields.
The Species Thesaurus serves the function of describing each species by concept or semantic relation in a wide range of topics that can be browsed alphabetically or searched by relevance ranking by bringing together terms that are most closely related. It contains the following information:
- Scientific name and local name(s) of the species
- Distribution and conservation information
- Characteristics, uses and management, and measurement information
- Cross references to other web-based resources where the species information is discussed
- Source or authority on which the species information was based
Constructed based on the Agroforestry Species Switchboard (http://www.worldagroforestry.org/products/switchboard/), the Thesaurus serves the following major functions:
- To show existing semantic relationships between terms, thus providing a system of reference
- To provide a hierarchical display of terms so searches can be broadened or narrowed systematically
- To facilitate comprehensive searches by linking together terms whose meanings are related paradigmatically or syntagmatically
- To provide a map of a given subject field, which helps to understand the structure of the field
- To increase speed of retrieval through the use of indexed search terms
The thesaurus can be useful for the following audiences:
- Information management professional, as a source of vocabulary for standardization and integration purposes.
- Scientist (ecologist/biologist), as a one stop reference to find species information on several databases