IT502: Visualizing the “Big Picture” of Change in NCIt’s Biological Processes

TitleIT502: Visualizing the “Big Picture” of Change in NCIt’s Biological Processes
Publication TypeConference Paper
Year of Publication2016
AuthorsPerl Y, Ochs C, de Coronado S, Thomas N
Conference NameInternational Conference on Biomedical Ontology and BioCreative (ICBO BioCreative 2016)
Date Published11/30/16 Volume 1747
Other NumbersVol-1747|urn:nbn:de:0074-1747-1

The National Cancer Institute thesaurus (NCIt) is a large and complex ontology. NCIt is frequently updated; a new release is made available approximately every month. Tracking structural changes in NCIt is important for the editors of its content. In this paper we describe a methodology and tool using diff partial-area taxonomies to visually summarize structural changes between two NCIt releases. Diff partial-area taxonomies provide a comprehensible view of the overall impact of the changes. This methodology is illustrated using the Biological Process hierarchy. Specifically, we illustrate how diff partial-area taxonomies reflect change that occurred due to major restructuring of this hierarchy between September 2004 and December 2004. During this time the hierarchy nearly doubled in size and a large portion of the classes were extensively modified. Several kinds of change patterns are identified and discussed.