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The UK's largest digital collection of social sciences and population research data


This project, funded under the JISC Research Tools Programme, applied the Simple Knowledge Organization System (SKOS) to the Humanities and Social Science Electronic Thesaurus (HASSET), and test its automatic indexing capabilities in relation to survey data resources.

The objective was to bring HASSET, the UK Data Archive's leading and well-respected English language social science thesaurus, into the Linked Data web and make it more widely available and more usable. It is also vital that thesauri maintain currency. Like dictionaries, thesauri describe the changing world around them; thesaurus-creators work hard to make sure their products are up to date. The existing management interface, user-facing pages and the Archive's underlying thesaurus database tables and structure were all enhanced.

The project developed a SKOS-enabled product using Pubby, an open source technology, developed by Richard Cyganiak and Chris Bizer from the Freie Universitat Berlin, to host SKOS-HASSET. It also provided advice and recommendations on how the terms within this product can be applied automatically to text. SKOS-HASSET was created as the terminology source for an automatic indexing parser and applied to question text, abstracts and publications from the Archive's collection. The results were compared to the gold standard of humanly-undertaken indexing, and shared.

Licensing issues for the product were addressed to ensure the widest possible accessibility. A user forum was set up to encourage pooling of knowledge around this high quality and robust tool and user engagement.

Archive contribution

The Archive was the sole organisation working on this project.

Principal Investigator: Lucy Bell
Funder: Jisc
Dates: June 2012 - March 2013
Contact: UK Data Service