Knowledge Base in Psychology

Project Description

Kopf vor Welkugel

Semantic publishing

Semantically enhanced, self-descriptive documents open up new possibilities to display content according to the user’s demands, to visualize implicitly present information and to locate documents, which are related according to specific factors defined by the user. In the context of the KOBPSY project, such a knowledge base is to be developed for the field of psychology and linked with the Semantic Web as part of the Cloud of Linked Open Data (LOD), which is realized, for example, by automatically linking terms within texts to further information from DBPedia.

Electronic publications are often available in XML-formats. However, these are only limitedly machine-readable and self-descriptive. Semantic technologies such as RDF (Resource Description Framework) can, in conjunction with underlying ontologies, which supply vocabulary and structures of meaning, assign a well-defined meaning to text information. This makes the access of information using standardized search languages and protocols such as SPARQL (SPARQL Protocol and RDF Query Language) possible.

Semantics for PsychOpen

The ZPID’s publication platform PsychOpen uses Open Journal Systems (OJS) for journal administration. The semantic enhancement of journal articles encoded in JATS-XML format is achieved using the SE4OJS (Semantic Enhancement for the Open Journal Systems) software, developed within the scope of KOBPSY. Semantic annotation takes place on two levels:

  • First, the meta-information existing in the XML-structure is transferred into RDF-triples. In doing so, bibliometric information (such as title, publisher, journal, author, editor, year of publication or reference) and structural information (such as allocation of text segments to sections or location of cross-references) are gleaned and semantically described using ontological concepts. For this purpose, SE4OJS uses widespread ontologies such as DCTerms and FOAF, as well as ontologies from the SPAR-family (Semantic Publishing and Referencing Ontologies), which are unknown, but in their description especially accurate as a result of their high level of detail.
  • During the second step, the unstructured text is annoted semantically. Using existing services such as Bioportal und MetaMap, meaningful elements are automatically identified and displayed within according ontological concepts.

The obtained database can then be queried flexibly. Within the scope of KOBPSY, applications are to be developed, which perform queries and display results for the end user graphically.

Ontological resources for the field of psychology

A further focus of the project is the evaluation of available ontologies. Currently, hardly any resources exist for the field of psychology. A flat representation of the APA-Thesaurus on Bioportal is publically available as an OWL-ontology. It covers a wide spectrum of domain-specific concepts, however only defines few relations between concepts and was originally developed for the indexation of documents using key words. Another psychology resource developed by the DFKI and ZPID is not publically available to date (see project KOIOS++). Furthermore, there are many biomedical ontologies that may be partially relevant for the field of psychology. Based on the specific applications for KOBPSY, the collection of demands on a general ontology for the field of psychology are to begin.



  • García-Castro, A., Barth, I., & Weichselgartner, E. (2015). KOBPSY, a knowledge base in psychology and behavioral sciences. i-KNOW '15 Proceedings of the 15th International Conference on Knowledge Technologies and Data-driven Business, Article 29.

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Additional Information

PD Dr. Erich Weichselgartner
Phone: +49 (0)651 201-2056
Leibniz Institute for Psychology Information
Universitätsring 15,
54296 Trier, Germany
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