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Frequently Asked Questions about SEON

Answers on this page reflect how the SEON platform support an Open Knowledge Network and what the user experience will be when the first round of development is completed and governance evolves as planned. A prototype of the platform is currently in development and be ready for beta testing in the summer of 2022.

Using SEON

What type of Information is stored on a SEON platform?

SEON mainly consists of data about real-world examples of Categories of information and links to other categories.. So information about an example of the “Tool” Category would include:

●what is its name,

●what project supports it,

●where can I find it online,

●where can I download it


Even if the entity is a digital entity -a dataset, a (software) tool, a report -SEON does not store a copy of the entity, but points to where you can find it online.


How can I search a SEON platform for information?

The SEON Knowledge Manager prototype is a web based application that will provide a number of different ways to search for information on the SEON Platform.

  • In the Chat interface, type your questions “Who at WA DFW works on Toxicants in fish?”

  • Using the Categories interface, choose ”Person” and search the table

  • Using the Categories Visual interface, explore a visual representation of the Knowledge Graph, filtering for information of interest.


Who can contribute information to SEON?

Anyone who registers themselves on SEON would be able to add or edit information. Changes to information on the site would be recorded, and edits could be reversed where contradictory information is detected. You can become a SEON editor, a volunteer who helps resolve quality of information issues.


How can I add information to SEON?

You might just want to add a new example for a category that you came across, say NHD+ as an example of the Dataset Category. If many people added such examples, SEON could help crowdsource an ever-expanding list of Datasets and examples for all other categories.


Adding a single Example of a Category

In the Knowledge Manager, you can add a new example -an insurance-of one of the Categories that SEON understands -People, Projects, Organizations, Datasets and more –by choosing the appropriate Category on the Instance Editor Tab, then select the “Add New Example” and complete the form that appears. You only have to complete the required fields –typically, Name, URL, Description -and can leave optional fields blank.


Editing a single Example of a Category

Search for the instance you want to edit, select it, and add new information to the existing Instances by completing additional fields or improving data in existing fields.


Adding a Table of instances to a Category

If you have a table of instances -e.g. a list of people with organizations they work at, links to online descriptions and more -you can upload the entire table using the Add a Table button. Names of the columns in your tables will have to match attribute names for that Category, or that column will be ignored.


Add a Web Service that points to your list

If you had a list of projects that you share via web services, you can enter information to that web service, and SEON could retrieve all those instances if asked.


Would all information always be shared with everyone?

No. You would be able create a community to which you could add people or organizations, and then when you add information you could say it is only accessible by that community.


What Categories of information does SEON store?

Here is an image showing core (but not all) Categories and relationships between them:


There are additional categories related to Regulations, Actions, Objectives, Portfolios -and the list will continue to grow with time.

How could I share a dataset on SEON?

We have designed three levels of sharing datasets on SEON.

1.You could simply provide information about your dataset to the Dataset Category list. You’d need to fill in basic information about purpose, description, focus area, a URL to the meta-data that describe its columns and links to where readers could access it.

2.You could provide information on web services that allow machines, including the SEON platform, to query your data set. So if your web service allows us to query your set of actions, your data may be searched when people are asking questions about actions.

3.The third is rare –if your dataset is so useful for answering questions - e.g., County Boundaries, Hydrological Units -a copy of your dataset may be hosted on SEON to speed up query responses.


How could I add a new information Category to SEON?

You would submit a description of the Category to the PPOD+ Guidance Workgroup.

How does SEON accelerate development of decision support systems?

Every decision support system converts raw data, often from monitoring systems, into evidence that can help us make decisions. The transformation from data to evidence uses tools that transform data, and workflows that sequence those tools from beginning to end. Each tool has its own algorithms and assumptions that underlie them, list of data inputs they require, and outputs they generate. The logic of the tools can be captured as causal chains, and when actions are being described to change the world, the assumptions of how the Actions impact the world can be captured in Results Chains. All of this information can be explicitly stored in SEON’s Knowledge Graph, which has categories for datasets, tools, tools I/O, workflows and results chains-the DNA strands that describe the structure of decision support systems. Platforms on which we can create decision support systems, such as the EMDS, are developing the capacity to query KGs for such SDS-DNA information, from which, with user guidance, they can assemble copies or new decision support systems.

About SEON

How is SEON Funded?

Currently development of the Knowledge Manager prototype is partly funded by the Squamish tribe, and work on the SEON platform backend is unfunded, but original work was done under a grant from the NSF. Some work is being done by Mountain View Business Group, one of the collaborators on the NSF project.


Who is behind SEON?

The genesis of SEON goes back to a series of workshops held at Redlands Institute in 2008 -2010 that lead to the creation of the Spatial Decision Support Ontology - a multi-disciplinary attempt to describe spatial decision support systems and theory.  After the Redlands Institute shut down, the Spatial Decision Support Consortium was created, and work slowly continued.  Work accelerated in 2019-2021 when the Consortium put together a team that won and NSF grant to develop a Spatial Decision Support Open Knowledge Network.  The output of that project was a core schema for a Knowledge Graph called PPOD+ and a back end for an OKN Platform.   A sub-group of the original team has continued to work on both refining the PPOD+ schema for environmental work and the OKN Platform.  SEON makes use of both.  SEON team members include Philip Murphy, Sono Hashisaki, Steve Paplanus, Sean Gordon, Patrick Huber and Allan Holland.

Who hosts SEON?

Currently the SEON platform, including the Knowledge Manager and Knowledge Graph are hosted by Mountain View Business Group, one of the collaborators from the NSF proposal. By the end of the year we’ll need to move to a larger host in the PNW.


Who decides what information can be shared on SEON?

In the current internal Beta Phase, Sono Hashisaki and Philip Murphy provide light editorial control of examples, and the Knowledge Schema Group tight control of Information Categories and their relationships.  We'll need an Editorial Team as we expand.

How is SEON governed?

We are developing an Governance Board board of environmental professionals, citizens and technologists.


Sustaining SEON

How does SEON stay current?

We need people to contribute new information and update existing information. For instance a dataset may be replaced by a new version, in which case we need to update its version information. An Organization may close down, so we need to add an end date to its original entry. A part of our original NSF project included using Machine Learning to find new examples of existing classes, and even discover new Classes from information already in SEON. Eventually we hope to work with our original collaborators at Texas A&M to add directed, automatic information acquisition to SEON.

What are the main activities around sustaining SEON?

●First and foremost, we need you to add information to SEON.

●We need editors to help manage conflicting edits and enforcing content guidelines.

●We need Category managers to help extend and manage the schema for the SEON Knowledge Graph. This Schema is call POPD+.

●We need members for our Governance Board.

●And we need help fund raising.


How can I collaborate on the design of KG Schema?

Join the PPOD+ Schema Design team. The group is made up of practitioners working on food security, salmon recovery, forest management and biodiversity.  It meets the 1st and 4th Friday each month.  Contact Philip Murphy through the message system below.


How can I help with editing content on SEON?

Join the SEON Editors Group.  Contact Philip Murphy through the message system below.


How do I help with developing the Knowledge Manager application?

Contact Steve Paplanus, our head of development. Use the message system below.

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