Title of Presentation: Noesis: A Semantic Search Engine and Resource Aggregator for Atmospheric Science

Primary (Corresponding) Author: Rahul Ramachandran

Organization of Primary Author: University of Alabama in Huntsville

Co-Authors: Sunil Movva, Xiang Li, Phani Cherukuri and Sara Graves


Abstract: The goal for search engines is to return results that are both accurate and complete.  The search engines should find only what you really want and find everything you really want.  Search engines (even meta search engines) lack semantics.  The basis for search is simply based on string matching between the user’s query term and the resource database and the semantics associated with the search string is not captured.  For example, if an atmospheric scientist is searching for “pressure” related web resources, most search engines return inaccurate results such as web resources related to blood pressure.  In this presentation Noesis, which is a meta-search engine and a resource aggregator that uses domain ontologies to provide scoped search capabilities will be described.  Noesis uses domain ontologies to help the user scope the search query to ensure that the search results are both accurate and complete.  The domain ontologies guide the user to refine their search query and thereby reduce the user’s burden of experimenting with different search strings.  Semantics are captured by refining the query terms to cover synonyms, specializations, generalizations and related concepts.  Noesis also serves as a resource aggregator.  It categorizes the search results from different online resources such as education materials, publications, datasets, web search engines that might be of interest to the user.

Noesis can be customized for use in different settings by configuring it to access different domain ontologies or to search different online resources.  Currently we have a general purpose atmospheric science version of Noesis available, and we are creating a coastal ecology version specialized for the Gulf of Mexico Research Collaborative, a NASA Applications project.  In addition Noesis portlets for the ESIP Federation Environmental Information Exchange and Geospatial One Stop are planned.