Access Innovations Partners with Leading Scientific Organizations for the Launch of a New Thesaurus Created for Astronomy Community

Albuquerque, NM (February 4, 2013) – Access Innovations, Inc., a leader in semantic enrichment, has teamed up with the American Institute of Physics (AIP) and IOP Publishing (IOP) to create a new astronomy thesaurus called the Unified Astronomy Thesaurus (UAT) for the American Astronomical Society (AAS).  The UAT will help improve future information discovery for researchers.

The AAS will make the UAT freely available for development and use within the astronomy community, while ensuring the thesaurus remains relevant and useful. To enhance and extend the thesaurus so that it continues to meet the needs of the astronomy community, further development of the UAT will be undertaken by the John G. Wolbach Library at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, in collaboration with the Astrophysics Data System (ADS) and the International Virtual Observatory Alliance (IVOA).

Adoption of the thesaurus within the ADS will result in better linking with the majority of astronomy research journal articles through a common vocabulary, thereby greatly improving the accuracy of information discovery.

The creation of the UAT is the result of the combination of two separate initiatives to develop thesauri as part of semantic enrichment projects by the AIP and IOP. The donation of this useful tool to the AAS will help expose relationships within content across multiple publishers and service providers, for the benefit of the community as a whole.

The thesaurus will be used in semantic technologies to enable researchers to execute faster, more accurate information searches. With many thousands of resources being published each year in the field of astronomy, these kinds of tools are vital to ensure that researchers continue to be able to find relevant information more easily, ultimately improving the discoverability of research. Similar searching effectiveness applies to computer data and web services as to the content of bibliographical resources, with which thesauri have traditionally been associated.

Jack Bruce, project manager at Access Innovations, said, “The immersion within the astrophysics and astronomy vernacular over the past few months has been a thrilling experience. The molding and blending of multiple controlled vocabularies, each with their own variations of scope and goal, proved to be challenging and rewarding. We wish for astronomy and astrophysical communities to take full advantage of the Unified Astronomy Thesaurus in order to streamline scientific research and publishing processes.”

Chris Biemesderfer, Director of Publishing at AAS, said of the gift:  “It’s both generous and foresighted for AIP and IOP to donate this work to the community, at a time when so much attention is focused on enabling semantic capabilities in scholarly research and communication. The AAS is grateful to the publishers for the timely contribution. It’s exciting for the development team to receive a product that is as well thought-through as this thesaurus, and the Society is proud to support the research community through partnerships like the UAT.”

Mark Cassar, Publisher at AIP said, “Information discovery and retrieval are essential to advance research in all the physical sciences. This thesaurus will give astronomers and astrophysicists a more comprehensive language tool to improve data searches across disciplines. AIP is pleased to play a role in this collaboration and looks forward to seeing the benefits of UAT within the research community.”

Graham McCann, Head of Product Management and Innovation at IOP, said, “This is an exciting and ambitious collaboration that will have real long-term benefits for researchers. IOP’s investment in semantic enrichment is a great example of how publishers serve the scientific community, by underpinning the scholarly communications process using the very latest technologies.”


About the American Astronomical Society (AAS)

The American Astronomical Society (AAS), established in 1899, is the major organization of professional astronomers in North America. The membership of around 7,000 includes physicists, mathematicians, geologists, engineers and others whose research interests lie within the broad spectrum of subjects now comprising contemporary astronomy. The mission of the American Astronomical Society is to enhance and share humanity’s scientific understanding of the Universe.  For more information, visit


About the American Institute of Physics (AIP)

The American Institute of Physics is a federation of 10 physical science societies representing more than 135,000 scientists, engineers, and educators.  AIP is one of the world’s largest publishers of scientific information in the physical sciences, and a leader in the field of electronic publishing of scholarly journals. It publishes 12 journals (some of which are the most highly cited in their respective fields), two magazines (including flagship publication Physics Today), and the AIP Conference Proceedings series. AIP’s online publishing platform Scitation hosts nearly two million articles, from more than 185 scholarly journals and other publications of 28 learned society publishers.