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Technical Research

Taxonomies

N
nicki.gill@esd.org.uk
|
IS
Ian Singleton


5. Taxonomies
For a publisher’s data to be meaningful to others, it needs to use terminology that is well defined and have a common meaning to everyone consuming the data. Open taxonomies (also known as controlled lists) provide a means of tagging data elements such as activities and locations with meaningful terms.

For social prescribing to successfully use activity and other service data from multiple sources we need:
Agreement on taxonomies with sufficiently distinct terms for all audiences
Means of translating taxonomy terms between domains - sometimes from a detailed term such as “Ying-yang yoga” to a more general term such as “Mindfulness”
Mechanisms to ensure taxonomies are maintained and adhered to

There are three principal categories of taxonomy relevant to finding activities for social prescribing:
@Service Type
(
@Activity type
)
@LGA Circumstances list
(
@Concepts
)
@Accessibility list


5.5 How taxonomies are represented
Taxonomies should be easy to consume in human and machine-readable formats. The Simple Knowledge Organization System (
) provides a standard means of expressing Taxonomies (see
)

The SKOS standard is followed by the OA
and
taxonomies.
software is used to present the taxonomies, render them in JSON and perform some validations via
. LGA lists also follow SKOS, using the SKOS:related attribute to define mappings between lists.

The
list is only represented in a basic XML format.

We have not identified a SKOS representation of Snomed CT. Snomed CT is available freely in most circumstances but is not open (
). Snomed CT does not have Uniform Resource Identifiers (URIs) that resolve openly over the Internet.

5.6 Recommendations
We recommend establishing high-level taxonomies for: service type (incorporating high-level activity types), target audience (circumstance) and accessibility. These should be defined using SKOS, be open and freely available according to the
.

Via SKOS, mappings can be established to domain-specific taxonomies such as Activity Type in
@OA
and Snomed CT in health. These domains will be responsible for maintaining their taxonomies and associated mappings. The mappings should be made available to software that requires them, and ideally, be made open.

In this way, social prescribing software will be able to map up from a precise medical condition to a broader core circumstance term. Likewise,
@OA
can map up from an activity to a broad service type term. Over time, relationships between high-level circumstances and high-level service types which address these circumstances can be mapped.

Taxonomy model-newV4-pastel.png
Taxonomies
1
Name
Sector specific
URL
2
Needs/Circumstances
Social Care
3
?
Fire Service
Unkown
4
?
Education
Unkown
5
?
Leisure
Unkown
6
?
Police
Unkown
7
?
Housing
Unkown
8
?
Poverty
Unkown
There are no rows in this table

Where social prescribers need to reference openly taxonomy terms, such as
, that exist in Snomed CT under more restrictive licensing, external open taxonomies will be needed with one-to-one relationships with Snomed CT terms.

The recently introduced taxonomy tagging functionality for LGA taxonomies (see
) allows anyone to sketch out relationships between their taxonomy and LGA taxonomies.

Cooperation between sectors is needed to agree on the hosting and management of associated taxonomies.


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