Visualizing the "big picture" of change in NCIt's biological processes

Yehoshua Perl, Christopher Ochs, Sherri De Coronado, Nicole Thomas

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review


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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalCEUR Workshop Proceedings
StatePublished - 2016
Event2016 Joint International Conference on Biological Ontology and BioCreative - Food, Nutrition, Health and Environment for the 9 Billion, ICBO-BioCreative 2016 - Corvallis, United States
Duration: Aug 1 2016Aug 4 2016

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Computer Science


  • Abstraction network
  • NCIt
  • Ontology big picture
  • Ontology change
  • Ontology visualization


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