Enabling Authors to Produce Computable Phenotype Measurements: Usability Studies on the Measurement Recorder

Limin Zhang, Hong Cui, Bruce Ford, Hsin liang Cheng, James Macklin, Anton Reznicek, Julian Starr

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


We believe authors are the most authoritative in defining characters they record. Currently, it is professional curators to convert phenotype characters in publications from human language to computable language using ontology. Such a curation process is not only slow and costly, but it is also jeopardized by significant inter-curation variation issues that are well-known but not systematically addressed. In an effort to make scientific publication semantically clear at the time of publication, we are designing, developing and evaluating a series of ontology-aware software prototypes to support authors to produce phenotypic data that can be readily harvested by computers. One of this series, Measurement Recorder, has been developed to assist authors to define numerical measurements of characters. Two usability studies have conducted with 22 undergraduate students who majored in information science and 32 biology undergraduate students respectively. Results obtained from the questionnaires and user interaction log data suggest that users can use the Measurement Recorder without training and find it easy to use. Users also appreciate semantic features that enhance data quality. A set of software design issues have also been identified and new features/modifications have been approved by three botanists on the team and implemented to address these issues. This module will be included in a larger Character Recorder platform where both categorical and numerical characters are supported. Future work includes representing the semantic data as RDF knowledge graph and characterizing the division of work between authors as domain knowledge providers and ontology engineers as knowledge formalizers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationHCI International 2020 – Late Breaking Posters - 22nd International Conference, HCII 2020, Proceedings
EditorsConstantine Stephanidis, Margherita Antona, Stavroula Ntoa
PublisherSpringer Science and Business Media Deutschland GmbH
Number of pages9
ISBN (Print)9783030606992
StatePublished - 2020
Event22nd International Conference on Human-Computer Interaction, HCI International 2020 - Copenhagen, Denmark
Duration: Jul 19 2020Jul 24 2020

Publication series

NameCommunications in Computer and Information Science
ISSN (Print)1865-0929
ISSN (Electronic)1865-0937


Conference22nd International Conference on Human-Computer Interaction, HCI International 2020


  • Author curation
  • Inter-curator variation
  • Measurement recorder
  • Phenotype characters
  • Semantic-aware software
  • Usability study

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Science(all)
  • Mathematics(all)


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