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Welcome to SONet

by admin last modified Oct 07, 2010 05:58 PM

The Scientific Observations Network


Advances in environmental science increasingly depend on information from multiple disciplines to tackle broader and more complex questions about the natural world.  Such advances, however, are hindered by data heterogeneity, which impedes the ability of researchers to discover, interpret, and integrate relevant data that have been collected by others.  A recent NSF-funded workshop on multidisciplinary data management concluded that interoperability can be significantly improved by better describing data at the level of observation and measurement, rather than the level of the data set.  The investigators propose the Scientific Observations Network (SONet) to initiate a multi-disciplinary, community-driven effort to define and develop the necessary specifications and technologies to facilitate semantic interpretation and integration of observational data. 

The technological approaches will derive from recent advances in knowledge representation that have demonstrated great utility in enhancing scientific communication and data interoperability within the genomics community.  This effort will constitute a community of experts consisting of environmental science researchers, computer scientists, and information managers, to develop open-source, standards-based approaches to the semantic modeling of observational data.  Working groups of experts will also engage in extending this core data model to include a broad range of specific measurements collected by the representative set of disciplines, and a series of demonstration projects will illustrate the capabilities of the approaches to confederate data for reuse in broader and unanticipated contexts.

The text of this funded NSF proposal can be found here.


We welcome participation in SONet. We have formed a new mailing list that is being used for discussions about observational data models across several groups, including SONet, the TDWG Observations Task Group, and the Joint Working Group on Observational Data Models and Semantics (JWG-ODMS).  You can post to the list at "", and subscribe to the list on the Observations Discussion List information Page.

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