The RDESC ontology provides an integrated vocabulary for describing a wide variety of science resources. By resource, we mean the technical, informational, and organizational artifacts that a researcher or scientist needs to advance their work effectively. Ultimately, this should include not only computing, experimental and storage systems, but also people, data, applications, and services. We designed the RDESC ontology specifically to support discovery, therefore it focuses on descriptive aspects that are important for how the resource is or can be used.

The ontology development effort is driven by a climate research use case. Based on the use case, we formed an initial ontology in order to codify the high-level concepts in the use case. To the extent possible, we adopted classes and relationships from well-established ontologies on the Semantic Web including FOAF (, BIBO (, and ( As we organized information about relevant resources, we introduced new concepts in order to provide a semantically integrated view of the data. Such concepts have two distinct functions. The first is to preserve semantics of the source that are more specific than what already existed in the ontology. The second is to provide broad categorization of existing concepts as it becomes clear that concepts are forming general groups. These generalizations enable users to work with concepts they understand, rather than needing to understand the semantics of many different systems.

The image below provides a graphical depiction of the current state of the RDESC ontology including the classes and how they interrelate though subsumption and through other object properties. See the Ontology page (link) for detailed descriptions of the individual classes and relationships.