Using Semantic Web technologies for the generation of domain-specific templates to support clinical study metadata standards

J Biomed Semantics. 2016 Mar 3:7:10. doi: 10.1186/s13326-016-0053-5. eCollection 2016.


Background: The Biomedical Research Integrated Domain Group (BRIDG) model is a formal domain analysis model for protocol-driven biomedical research, and serves as a semantic foundation for application and message development in the standards developing organizations (SDOs). The increasing sophistication and complexity of the BRIDG model requires new approaches to the management and utilization of the underlying semantics to harmonize domain-specific standards. The objective of this study is to develop and evaluate a Semantic Web-based approach that integrates the BRIDG model with ISO 21090 data types to generate domain-specific templates to support clinical study metadata standards development.

Methods: We developed a template generation and visualization system based on an open source Resource Description Framework (RDF) store backend, a SmartGWT-based web user interface, and a "mind map" based tool for the visualization of generated domain-specific templates. We also developed a RESTful Web Service informed by the Clinical Information Modeling Initiative (CIMI) reference model for access to the generated domain-specific templates.

Results: A preliminary usability study is performed and all reviewers (n = 3) had very positive responses for the evaluation questions in terms of the usability and the capability of meeting the system requirements (with the average score of 4.6).

Conclusions: Semantic Web technologies provide a scalable infrastructure and have great potential to enable computable semantic interoperability of models in the intersection of health care and clinical research.

Keywords: BRIDG; CIMI; Clinical study meta-data standards; Detailed clinical model; Doman analysis model; RDF; Semantic Web technologies.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Biomedical Research
  • Humans
  • Internet*
  • Medical Informatics / methods*
  • Medical Informatics / standards*
  • Models, Theoretical
  • Reference Standards
  • Semantics*