Advancing ‘Search & Discovery’ for climate action: Exploring the potential of Linked Open Data and Artificial Intelligence approaches

14:00 Tuesday 28 May


Room PA


Julia Barrott (United Kingdom) 1; Martin Kaltenböck (Austria) 2; Denise Recheis (Austria) 3; Sukaina Bharwani (United Kingdom) 1; Tiago Capela Lourenço (Portugal) 4

1 - Stockholm Environment Institute; 2 - Semantic Web Company; 3 - REEEP; 4 - Climate Change Impacts, Adaptation and Modelling group (CCIAM-cE3c), University of Lisbon

The recognition of and need to address the impacts and opportunities of climate change has seen a huge increase in the generation of data, information and knowledge relevant for climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction in recent years. And as the impacts on sectors and business becomes clearer, the number and diversity of actors and organizations actively engaging with and producing relevant knowledge in these fields is growing.

This presents two key problems for finding relevant content: firstly, relevant knowledge and related actors are scattered across numerous personal, project, organizational, network and platform websites, making it difficult to know where to go to find the information needed; and secondly, the abundance of knowledge and data and the diversity of language with which it is described (owing to the different producers) makes it difficult to filter content to find what is relevant.

This session will bring together data, information and knowledge producers, users and managers in climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction to discuss ways forward to address these issues as a community. This discussion will be guided by presentations on understanding user needs and the digital infrastructure that can meet the needs of knowledge managers to address these issues, with a particular focus on the potential of linked open data, taxonomies, and semantic and Artificial Intelligence technologies. Open-access tools – the Climate Tagger and the PLACARD Connectivity Hub – will also be presented that showcase how the broad adoption of these technologies can maximize the accessibility, discoverability and uptake of data and knowledge in a way that helps drive users back to websites hosting this content.

Climate Tagger is an open-source taxonomy-based tool that can be used to facilitate automated analyses of textual information by tagging such content consistently and reliably. Returned tags are based on a purposely-developed taxonomy, currently describing the areas of renewable energy, energy efficiency and climate mitigation. The Connectivity Hub can extend the Climate Tagger to include taxonomies for CCA and DRR, with a vision that increased use of standardized language to describe data by knowledge managers will improve search and discoverability of relevant content.

Target audience

This session is primarily aimed at the information and knowledge management community, including: information, data and knowledge professionals; owners and developers of web-based platforms (urban, national, regional, global) and knowledge/data portals; and their funders. It will be of particular interest to those exploring how digital innovation (such as Linked Open Data or artificial intelligence approaches) can enhance communication, collaboration and decision-making support for climate adaptation and disaster risk reduction, and to those exploring how advances in artificial intelligence might be leveraged to support climate action.

Proposed format for the session

Four short presentations will introduce the audience to the subject matter. These will be followed by a workshop that will allow attendees to: delve deeper into these topics with relevant experts; provide input into the further development of these approaches for the wider benefit of the CCA and DRR communities; express interest in and explore ways to continue a collaboration amongst the information and knowledge management community; and discuss ways forward for this community to better support climate action.

The presentations will introduce the audience to:

  • the idea of Linked Open Data and how it could benefit the CCA and DRR communities by supporting enhanced learning, communication, and collaboration;
  • the Climate Tagger tool, including the motivation behind it and how it facilitates automated tagging of textual information for enhanced information and knowledge management;
  • the PLACARD project’s work on the development of taxonomies for CCA and DRR to support better communication and information and knowledge management;
  • the potential of semantic technologies (including artificial intelligence) for supporting and expediting progress in CCA and DRR; and
  • the PLACARD Connectivity Hub ‘search and discovery’ tool: what it is and how it works to benefit stakeholders and the owners of knowledge platforms and data portals.

Contributing Authors abstracts

1. Martin Kaltenböck, Semantic Web Company

This presentation will provide an introduction to Linked Data and semantic web technologies and describe how these can transform information and knowledge management to deliver actionable knowledge. Linked Data offers a significant step forward for enabling increased and more efficient learning, coordination and collaboration both within and between the CCA and DRR communities. When combined with semantic technologies such as Knowledge Graphs (representations of knowledge domains), this approach can support the connection of diverse content in a systematic way. The presentation will provide an overview of the huge potential this offers to various applications, including powering decision support and Artificial Intelligence initiatives.

2. Julia Barrott, Stockholm Environment Institute: Taxonomy for DRR & CCA

For CCA and DRR the issue of information overload is compounded by the fact that these communities also use many of the same terms but interpret and frame them differently. Amongst other things this differing use of language contributes towards: misunderstandings and miscommunication that impede collaboration and the sharing of information and knowledge; missed opportunities for learning and cooperation; and potential duplication of initiatives and inefficient use of resources. It also presents a significant barrier to non-experts attempting to engage with these communities.

This presentation will highlight why the language we use is so important and show how taxonomy development can support better communication and information and knowledge management. It will describe why and how the PLACARD project has developed purpose-built taxonomies for CCA and DRR, and how these communities can access and benefit from these taxonomies. Lastly it will present open-access visualizations of these taxonomies for consideration and invite audience members to provide feedback, offer ideas/highlight needs for areas of further development and discuss potential collaborations.

3. Denise Recheis, REEEP: The Climate Tagger

Climate Tagger is a suite of tools developed by REEEP. It helps knowledge-driven climate and development organizations streamline and catalogue their data and information resources, and connects them to the wider climate community.

Climate Tagger extracts keywords from websites or platforms, and tags online content so it can be searched and connected to related content on the same and other websites. By recognizing synonyms and related terms the system offers additional information to enrich user experience, like translations and definitions, based on a purpose-built thesaurus.

Imagine a knowledge portal without keywords as a chaotic bookshop. Climate Tagger assists and guides you to books related to climate or energy. It suggests relevant books in this and other bookshops. As a researcher, you are happy, and so are publishers whose books would never have been found in the chaos.

Climate Tagger has growth potential and could make a difference for everyone trying to locate precise information amidst a flood of climate and energy resources. In cooperation with PLACARD, REEEP is working to overcome the information silos concerning CCA and DRR, with the new Connectivity Hub.

4. Sukaina Bharwani, Stockholm Environment Institute: PLACARD Connectivity Hub

This presentation will demonstrate the practical power of approaches discussed in this session. PLACARD taxonomies for CCA and DRR are the foundation of the newly launched ‘search and discovery’ tool, the PLACARD Connectivity Hub. Taxonomies provide excellent search abilities in the Hub for discovering new projects, organizations and individuals with key expertise in the CCA and DRR domains, and also support a glossary that includes definitions of commonly used terms in CCA and DRR.