Pollution and Health terminology into the EARTh thesaurus
National Research Council, Institute of Atmospheric Pollution Research, Environmental Knowledge Organisation Laboratory, Rome, 1 Research Area Italy
Highly structured and refined, but flexible tools are needed to deal with issues as the information management on the web and the semantic interoperability. Many issues in the field of knowledge organisation and information management can be traced back to meaning delimitation. There are opposite needs and tendencies: on one hand there’s the necessity to share a common and stable meaning of the terms in order to guarantee communication within a community. On the other hand, openness to further exploration of meaning should also be ensured to do not impoverish its richness and complexity. The term “benzene” could be defined in different ways. A biologist may consider its toxicity and the different routes on which it can enter an organism. An engineer would consider it as a fuel for combustion engine. A physicist may see it as a volatile and inflammable liquid. A fire brigade can consider benzene as a dangerous inflammable substance that cannot be extinguished by water, but only with foam. A chemist may see it as the precursor of a class of chemical compounds, etc. Benzene could be thus defined in several different ways depending on the context in which it is considered. But we should also underline that all these definitions share a common premise: “benzene” is first of all a substance (that can have toxic effects, be used as fuel, that can also cause accidents, etc.). This semantic trait seems to be unavoidable. Starting from this premise and referring also to suggestions coming from the development of applied ontologies a new environmental thesaurus format containing some innovative elements has been designed and is currently available. The goal is the development of a thesaurus aiming to become an advanced tool to be applied for environmental information management, to sustain environmental policy and research. To achieve this result EARTh has been conceived as a tool able to deal with the specific features of the environment sector (multidisciplinary character, high complexity, bio-cultural implications, etc.). In this paper the EARTh component dealing with environmental pollution and heath is presented.
Key words: Thesaurus / Environmental pollution / Air / Soil / Water / Health
© Owned by the authors, published by EDP Sciences, 2013
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License 2.0, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.