EFFECTIVELY SEARCHING SPECIMEN AND OBSERVATION DATA WITH TOQE, THE THESAURUS OPTIMIZED QUERY EXPANDER

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Anton Güntsch
Niels Hoffmann
Patricia Kelbert
Walter G. Berendsohn

Abstract

Today’s specimen and observation data portals lack a flexible mechanism, able to link up thesaurus-enabled data sources such as taxonomic checklist databases and expand user queries to related terms, significantly enhancing result sets. The TOQE system (Thesaurus Optimized Query Expander) is a REST-like XML web-service implemented in Python and designed for this purpose. Acting as an interface between portals and thesauri, TOQE allows the implementation of specialized portal systems with a set of thesauri supporting its specific focus. It is both easy to use for portal programmers and easy to configure for thesaurus database holders who want to expose their system as a service for query expansions. Currently, TOQE is used in four specimen and observation data portals. The documentation is available from http://search.biocase.org/toqe/.

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Author Biographies

Anton Güntsch, Botanic Garden and Botanical Museum Berlin-Dahlem

head, section of biodiversity informatics

Niels Hoffmann, Botanic Garden and Botanical Museum Berlin-Dahlem

developer, biodiversity informatics section

Patricia Kelbert, Botanic Garden and Botanical Museum Berlin-Dahlem

developer, biodiversity informatics section

Walter G. Berendsohn, Botanic Garden and Botanical Museum Berlin-Dahlem

head, dept. of biodiversity informatics and laboratories