1. Scenario description: Towards a Collaborative Environmental Hyperglossary

Within the strategic context of EEA, EIONET and other relevant institutions and networks, there is a clear trend towards the use of telematic tools in environmental information.

Among existing telematic networks, the Internet is the most dynamic one and reaches about 50 million addresses world wide (end of 1995). Within the "Internet world", the World Wide Web (WWW) is the most attractive tool for presenting multimedia information, also in the form of databases. It increasingly includes interactive user modes. Despite its extremely fast development and the limited possibility of precise forecasts, WWW is currently the bandwagon that most users of electronic tools seem to jump on, at least in the scientific area. All Western industrialized countries and many other countries show double digit increase rates per month in the number of WWW sites and users. On the other hand it should not be forgotten that slow and congested telecommunication lines are and will continue to be the bottleneck in efficient use of Internet and of WWW in particular, despite huge investments in better transmission technologies (broadband, ATM, etc.), because the increase rates of byte transmission (both the number of users and the share of pictures, videos, sound etc. in information transmission) is much higher.

One of the biggest advantages of WWW is its extreme user-friendliness, including the possibility for "amateurs" to design and operate their own home pages and web sites with multimedia information being offered for general use. The HTML format (a derivative of the SGML standard, ISO 8879 and subsquent standards) (with its version 3.0 to be expected soon) is a flexible coding mechanism, independent of the type of information to be encoded. A multilingualization campaign in the last three years has created widespread possibilities of character set management in WWW that covers all scripts encoded in ISO 10646 (the first level of which is identical to the more widely known Unicode "standard")

In the last two years terminological information has increasingly been available on WWW, usually in the form of mono- and multilingual electronic dictionaries, sometimes with on-line translation features.

With interactive features increasingly available on WWW, several initiatives have started to create collaborative dictionaries on the web. To my knowledge the first initiative of this kind was started by Birkbeck College in the U.K. (organized by Peter Murray-Rust and Lesley West) with their "Collaborative Virtual Hyperglossary" for biomolecular terminology, which has been designed as an intergral part of an accredited computer-supported and distance-teaching tool in biochemistry courses of several universities (Murray-Rust 1995).

This notion can be taken over and adapted for the environmental field, leading us to propose the following scenario (shown in Figure 3): an "Environmental Hyperglossary" becomes the WWW implementation form of the terminology database of the EEA. It is operated on a server that is part of the infrastructure of EIONET, in this case a server of the ETC/CDS (e-.g. the server of ISEP/CEDAR in their function as Technical Secretariat of the ETC), that operates on behalf of EEA and under its mandate. The interactive mode of providing and retrieving data is managed by HTML-RTF filter as an interface to text processor formats, data entry forms are provided by CGI scripts and by Java applets. Retrieval of terminological data from the local database via WWW will have to be provided. In this connection the experience of the FZI in Germany that is implementing the German-Austrian "Umweltdatenkatalog" in WWW is of particular relevance (Kramer/Spandl 1996 and the literature referred to in there): In addition to JAVA, the new methodology of the Common Object Request Broker Architecture (CORBA) is recommended (see chapter 8 on future work in this direction).

In Figure 3 two types of user groups are distinguished: active providers and passive consumers, latter group also has the possibility of giving feedback to the central management team. The collaborative aspect is organized and managed by entry forms (see below) and validation and consolidation phases for receiving input from different sources, as part of an overall work flow management scheme. The central glossary manager collects, validates and processes all incoming data, e.g. basic entries with monolingual information, some definitions and some cross-references. The transformation of the data model specified in chapter 3 into input and output formats, interfaces and the management format of the web site, guarantees a uniform data structure and a formal validation of data according to this specification. The validation of content, however, is a collaborative duty: the web site offers, but only to the closed group of active providers, entries with the unchecked and uncompleted information, duly marked as "working records", so that each member of this group can check and complete entries, according to his/her competence (concerning languages and subject field knowledge) and according to specific needs and interests. Consolidated records are then offered for general use on the open web site to the passive consumers.

Figure 3 is focusing on the case of actively providing new terminological information into the collaborative framework. The other cases, i.e. links to other already existing data available on WWW and integration en bloc of existing relevant data into the core database involve different aspects. In the latter case, for instance, the problem of different (and mostly incompatible) datastructures (implemented data models with different categorizations of terminological information) becomes virulent. As long as data are not transferred from one database to the other, data structures are left unchanged. In the case of data exchange, the common reference data model as explicated above will be used as a relay model.

Click here for Figure 3 - An operational model of an Environmental Hyperglossary

The organization of an Environmental Hyperglossary on WWW could be described as follows:

In a first test phase a certain number of institutions would cooperate on the web in the following way:

In order to facilitate the start-up phase, a certain number of entries will be included in the hyperglossary right from the start of the pilot phase. References (hyperlinks) will be present to other terminological resources available on the web.

The powerful pointing and linking mechanisms of WWW/HTML is extremely helpful in transforming the meta data model into a HTML data model and for implementation (inlcuding functional and technical specifications for this).

A cover page is linked to entry form, help database (that includes the work manual), and to an "About" infobox (about the project and the contributors).

The following pages contain proposals for the

  1. the search mechanism (Figure 4),
  2. the presentation of terminological information on the WWW in list form (Figure 5),
  3. a possible layout of the WWW retrieval interface (Figure 6).
  4. Draft WWW Input Form (Figure 7)

Click here for Figure 4 - Proposal for search mechanism

Click here for Figure 5 - Proposed list form presentation of terminologial information on WWW

Click here for Figure 6 - Possible layout of user interface on Netscape.

Click here for Figure 7 - Draft WWW Input Form

Picklists pop up when field name is clicked to choose from and click for selection:

subject field:
  • Environment (general) Environmental Protection
    Environmental Policy
    Environmental Science
    Environmental Legislation
  • Biology Zoology
    Botany
    Microbiology
  • Genetics, Genetic Engineering
  • Medicine, Health Health Hazards
  • Chemistry Biochemistry
  • Hydrology
  • Earth Sciences Soil
    Geology
  • Agriculture
  • Forestry
  • Fisheries
languages:
  • English
  • German
  • French
  • Italian
  • Spanish
  • Danish
  • Dutch
  • Swedish
  • Finnish
  • Norwegian
  • Portuguese
  • Greek
  • Russian
restriction on term:
  • geographical French France
    Belgium
    Switzerland
    Canada
    Italian Italy
    Switzerland
German Germany
Austria
Switzerland
English United Kingdom
Ireland
United States
Canada
Austrialia
New Zealand
term status:
  • standardized
  • suggested
  • international scientific term
  • obsolete
  • vernacular
  • in-house term
  • trade mark
concept position:
  • generic relation superordinate concept
    subordinate concept
    coordinate concept
  • partitive relation part
    whole
  • sequential relation
  • temporal relation
  • spatial relation
  • associative relation
  • antonym

As mentioned before, the collaborative effort needs clear workflow management procedures and incentives for active and continuous participation. It is envisaged that enough data will be incorporated into the hyperglossary right from the start to gain the "critical mass" for its acceptance in the EEA/EIONET framework. A thorough evaluation of the experimental phase and a subsequent optimization will be crucial for success.

Another key to success is a powerful network of cross-links to other URLs with terminological resources, to URLs of other ETCs, NFPs, EEA itself and other environmental information web sites (which are numerous already).

The following pages contain sample entries from the experimental core database, done in MultiTerm "95, a Windows application terminology management programme. Based on the functionalities of this product and positive experience by other institutions with this software for similar purposes it was chosen for this project for demonstration purposes only. The investigations in the immediate future will show how a database will be available for the (UNIX-) WWW-server directly.

On the following pages sample entries from a MULTITERM test database, exported to Word for Windows 6.0 format, are shown in 3 different (self-customizable) presentation forms:

DICTIONARY EXPORT FORMATS

Groupe d'experts intergouvernemental pour (Definition) (Source) UN-WMO Term 41 (Project Code) IPCC (Note) (Español) Grupo Intergubernamental de Expertos sobre Cambios Climáticos (Project Code) IPCC (Source) UN-WMO Term 41 (English) Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (Project Code) IPCC (Source) UN-WMO Term 41 (Note) WMO/UNEP Grupo Intergubernamental de Expertos sobre Cambios Climáticos (Project Code) IPCC (Source) UN-WMO Term 41 (English) Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (Project Code) IPCC (Source) UN-WMO Term 41 (Note) WMO/UNEP (Français) Groupe d'experts intergouvernemental pour l'étude du changement climatique (Definition) (Source) UN-WMO Term 41 (Project Code) IPCC (Note) Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (Project Code) IPCC (Source) UN-WMO Term 41 (Note) WMO/UNEP (Français) Groupe d'experts intergouvernemental pour l'étude du changement climatique (Definition) (Source) UN-WMO Term 41 (Project Code) IPCC (Note) (Español) Grupo Intergubernamental de Expertos sobre Cambios Climáticos (Project Code) IPCC (Source) UN-WMO Term 41
Plan d'action pour le programme concernant l'étude des incidences du climat sur l'humanité (Subject) Environment (Source) UN-WMO Term 41 (Español) Plan de Acción del Programa de Estudios del Impacto del Clima en la Humanidad (Source) UN-WMO Term 41 (English) Action Plan for the Programme of Studies on the Impact of Climate on Mankind (Subject) Environment (Source) UN-WMO Term 41 (Note) submitted to the World Climate Conference Plan de Acción del Programa de Estudios del Impacto del Clima en la Humanidad (Source) UN-WMO Term 41 (English) Action Plan for the Programme of Studies on the Impact of Climate on Mankind (Subject) Environment (Source) UN-WMO Term 41 (Note) submitted to the World Climate Conference (Français) Plan d'action pour le programme concernant l'étude des incidences du climat sur l'humanité (Subject) Environment (Source) UN-WMO Term 41 Action Plan for the Programme of Studies on the Impact of Climate on Mankind (Subject) Environment (Source) UN-WMO Term 41 (Note) submitted to the World Climate Conference (Français) Plan d'action pour le programme concernant l'étude des incidences du climat sur l'humanité (Subject) Environment (Source) UN-WMO Term 41 (Español) Plan de Acción del Programa de Estudios del Impacto del Clima en la Humanidad (Source) UN-WMO Term 41
pluie acide (Source) UN-WMO Term 41 (Español) lluvia ácida (Source) UN-WMO Term 41 (English) acid rain (Source) UN-WMO Term 41 (Deutsch) saurer Regen lluvia ácida (Source) UN-WMO Term 41 (English) acid rain (Source) UN-WMO Term 41 (Deutsch) saurer Regen (Français) pluie acide (Source) UN-WMO Term 41 acid rain (Source) UN-WMO Term 41 (Deutsch) saurer Regen (Français) pluie acide (Source) UN-WMO Term 41 (Español) lluvia ácida (Source) UN-WMO Term 41
précipitations acides (Español) precipitación ácida (English) acid precipitation (Definition) wet or dry precipitation of an increased acidity, generated by the release of sulphates or nitrates in the atmosphere (Source) UN-WMO Term 41 precipitación ácida (English) acid precipitation (Definition) wet or dry precipitation of an increased acidity, generated by the release of sulphates or nitrates in the atmosphere (Source) UN-WMO Term 41 (Français) précipitations acides acid precipitation (Definition) wet or dry precipitation of an increased acidity, generated by the release of sulphates or nitrates in the atmosphere (Source) UN-WMO Term 41 (Français) précipitations acides (Español) precipitación ácida


prevention of waste production (Definition) all measures by which production and consumption processes are caused to generate less (or no waste), or to generate only those wastes that can be treated without causing problems (Source) translation from German (Related Words) abatement of waste production (Deutsch) Abfallvermeidung (Definition) Gesamtheit aller Maßnahmen, die dazu führen, daß bei Produktions- und Konsumtionsprozessen keine, weniger oder nur solche Abfälle entstehen, die problemlos behandelt werden können (Source) ÖNORM S 2001 Abfallwirtschaft Benennungen und Definitionen (Related Words) Abfallverringerung


renaturation (Definition) the restoration of biological activity to a denatured protein or nucleic acid. The strands of a DNA duplex, for example, are denatured at high temperatures but can be correctly reformed by slow cooling. This property is used in assembling synthetic double-stranded DNA from a series of oligonucleotide fragments (Source) Biochemistry, p. 36; Biotech glossary 1990 (Context) (Note) (Deutsch) Renaturierung (Definition) Übergang eines Proteins oder einer Nucleinsäure vom denaturierten Zustand in die native Konfiguration (Source) Lex Biochemie; Biotech Glossary 1990 (Note) (Context)


UN-WMO Term 41 (Definition) United Nations Office at Geneva, Languages Service; World Meteorological Organization, Languages Division: Climate Change. Glossary. Arabic Chinese English French Russian Spanish. Geneva: United Nations, 1990 (Term 41)

TABLE PRESENTATION FORM

acid precipitation précipitations acides
acid rain pluie acide
Action Plan for the Programme of Studies on the Impact of Climate on Mankind Plan d'action pour le programme concernant l'étude des incidences du climat sur l'humanité
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Groupe d'experts intergouvernemental pour l'étude du changement climatique
prevention of waste production a
renaturation a
UN-WMO Term 41 a

acid precipitation wet or dry precipitation of an increased acidity, generated by the release of sulphates or nitrates in the atmosphere
UN-WMO Term 41
acid rain UN-WMO Term 41
Action Plan for the Programme of Studies on the Impact of Climate on Mankind UN-WMO Term 41
submitted to the World Climate Conference
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change IPCC
UN-WMO Term 41
WMO/UNEP
prevention of waste production all measures by which production and consumption processes are caused to generate less (or no waste), or to generate only those wastes that can be treated without causing problems
translation from German
abatement of waste production
renaturation the restoration of biological activity to a denatured protein or nucleic acid. The strands of a DNA duplex, for example, are denatured at high temperatures but can be correctly reformed by slow cooling. This property is used in assembling synthetic double-stranded DNA from a series of oligonucleotide fragments
Biochemistry, p. 36; Biotech glossary 1990

UN-WMO Term 41 United Nations Office at Geneva, Languages Service; World Meteorological Organization, Languages Division: Climate Change. Glossary. Arabic Chinese English French Russian Spanish. Geneva: United Nations, 1990 (Term 41)

Groupe d'experts intergouvernemental pour l'étude du changement climatique Grupo Intergubernamental de Expertos sobre Cambios Climáticos
Plan d'action pour le programme concernant l'étude des incidences du climat sur l'humanité Plan de Acción del Programa de Estudios del Impacto del Clima en la Humanidad
pluie acide lluvia ácida
précipitations acides precipitación ácida

Groupe d'experts intergouvernemental pour l'étude du changement climatique UN-WMO Term 41
IPCC
Plan d'action pour le programme concernant l'étude des incidences du climat sur l'humanité <>UN-WMO Term 41
pluie acide UN-WMO Term 41
précipitations acides a

SGML EXPORT FORMAT

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<English>Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
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<Source>UN-WMO Term 41
<Français>précipitations acides
<Español>precipitación ácida

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<Anlagedatum>01.02.1996 - 15:27:08
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<English>acid rain
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<Français>pluie acide
<Source>UN-WMO Term 41
<Deutsch>saurer Regen
<Español>lluvia ácida
<Source>UN-WMO Term 41

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<Español>Plan de Acción del Programa de Estudios del
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<Definition>
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<Anlagedatum>01.02.1996 - 15:52:57
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<English>prevention of waste production
<Definition>all measures by which production and consumption processes
are caused to generate less (or no waste), or to generate only those wastes
that can be treated without causing problems
<Source>translation from German
<Related Words>abatement of waste production
<Deutsch>Abfallvermeidung
<Definition>Gesamtheit aller Maßnahmen, die dazu führen,
daß bei Produktions- und Konsumtionsprozessen keine, weniger oder nur
solche Abfälle entstehen, die problemlos behandelt werden können
<Source>ÖNORM S 2001 Abfallwirtschaft Benennungen und Definitionen
<Related Words>Abfallverringerung

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<English>renaturation
<Definition>the restoration of biological activity to a denatured protein
or nucleic acid. The strands of a DNA duplex, for example, are denatured at
high temperatures but can be correctly reformed by slow cooling. This property
is used in assembling synthetic double-stranded DNA from a series of
oligonucleotide fragments
<Source>Biochemistry, p. 36; Biotech glossary 1990
<Context>
<Note>
<Deutsch>Renaturierung
<Definition>Übergang eines Proteins oder einer Nucleinsäure vom
denaturierten Zustand in die native Konfiguration
<Source>Lex Biochemie; Biotech Glossary 1990
<Note>
<Context>

**
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<Definition>United Nations Office at Geneva, Languages Service; World
Meteorological Organization, Languages Division: Climate Change. Glossary.
Arabic Chinese English French Russian Spanish. Geneva: United Nations, 1990
(Term 41)


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