Posts Tagged ‘USDA’

USDA, Agricultural Research Service & National Agricultural Library Select Symplectic as Their Research Information Management Provider

symplecticNovember 10, 2014 — The Agricultural Research Service (ARS), the USDA’s chief in-house scientific research agency, and the National Agricultural Library, one of four national US libraries, have selected Symplectic Elements as their first integrated research information management system. The system will allow the agency to better disseminate and report on the research conducted by the 2,000+ researchers across the agency.

The USDA Agricultural Research Service employs over 6,000 people and has a fiscal budget of over $1 billion, while the National Agricultural Library houses one of the world’s largest collections devoted to agriculture and its related sciences. Elements will allow the organization to automate a large part of their research information collection, build in-depth reports for analysis and in time be used to help populate the public-facing USDA VIVO research networking and discovery portal. Read more

Edamam’s Semantic Smarts Help Serve Up Dinner Plans

Edamam wants to be the one place where all the food knowledge of the world is organized. That’s the goal of co-founder and CEO Victor Penev, who launched the site in April, and recently updated the several hundred major recipe sites in its knowledge base to also include some smaller blog sites that add additional variety.

Semantic technology is helping the company reach its goal. “A big problem is that data about food is very messy,” says Penev. “It’s hard to find something, what you find often contradicts other information of what is good for you and what the calories are. So we set out to solve that problem. We played around with different approaches but settled on using semantic technology.”

The confusion arises in part from the fact that recipe sites themselves usually just hire services to calculate nutritional data. But that may lead to mistakes when calculations aren’t undertaken with exactitude — substituting white cream for heavy cream nutritional details changes the whole profile of the recipe, he says.

So, what is that right semantic stuff? One piece of it is that, in conjunction with Ontotext, Edamam built a food ontology. An ontology can be the foundation for a lot of things, such as extracting the knowledge of the chemical composition of a particular recipe and thus inferring its flavor and texture. And Edamam means to grow its own to include various datasets such as chemical data (for flavor and texture), geolocation (for local and seasonal recipes), product data (for e-commerce). and more.

But initially, it’s taken the simple approach, with the core of the ontology focused around classifying ingredients, nutrients and food. “We have started with the simplest ontology and focused on the most common use case — mobile recipe search,” he says.

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Knowing Your Farmer with the Semantic Web

Anthony Nicalo recently posted an interesting piece on how the semantic web could improve the food system in the US. He writes, “We live in a backward world. A world where it is strange to know where our food comes from. Foods that are grown and processed without adulteration have to prove it, while the use of chemicals and manipulation do not have to be disclosed. Information and technology on the other hand can contribute to a better food system by eliminating information asymmetry. It only takes a couple of times choosing something you know the provenance of to remind you that it is actually bizarre to NOT know the source of your food.” Read more

Dovel Technologies Announces MyFoodAlerts.com

Dovel Technologies recently announced “the launch of MyFoodAlerts.com, an application that pulls data from multiple sources, currently including the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), and Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA), to provide a holistic view of food-related recalls in the U.S. and Canada. Until now, there has not been a way to reconcile that data into a single view for wide distribution to the public. The FDA monitors and controls all food products except meat, poultry, and fish which are monitored and controlled by the USDA.” Read more