Mining Publication: Development of a Taxonomy for Indexing Web-based Mining Safety and Health Research
To solve the mining safety and health needs of the future, access to, and sharing of, timely and relevant information will be crucial. The next generation of the Web will provide tools (RDF, OWL, SPARQL, etc) to define and link content for more effective discovery, integration, and reuse across applications and organisations. A recent Gartner Research Report (Finding and exploiting value in Semantic Web technologies on the web, May 2007) predicts these technologies will begin to coalesce in ten years. Implementing this Semantic Web requires structured web content described via metadata (information about information). If an industry or enterprise bases its metadata on a common vocabulary, it becomes possible to share and reuse information. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health's (NIOSH) Mining web site provides access to more than 1500 NIOSH-developed publications, products, and topic pages on issues as diverse as ground control, respiratory diseases, and mine emergency management. As the site has grown, locating content has become increasingly difficult. To improve the searching process, a panel of internal experts representing all major research programs was established to develop a controlled vocabulary for indexing that content. The outcome is the NIOSH Mining Safety and Health Thesaurus, a faceted, hierarchical thesaurus containing hundreds of mining safety and health terms organised into 20 facets (e.g. diseases, injuries and disorders; hazardous events and exposures, equipment, engineering and administrative controls). One immediate goal of this project is to reduce the complexity of locating information on the NIOSH Mining web site by implementing metadata and faceted information retrieval techniques. Another goal is to stimulate discussion in the international mining community regarding developing metadata standards so the industry is ready to adopt future Semantic Web technologies to improve access to mining safety and health information.