Anonymous — October 23, 2008 - 8:15am
Anonymous — October 21, 2008 - 11:58pm
Last month i asked the question "What is the Hardest Content to Classify?" and promised additional posts on the subject based on my background of 13 years developing taxonomy and indexing solutions for still images libraries, so I am continuing my thoughts in this post focusing on the basic attributes of image classification.
In my opinion, images are the hardest content items to classify, but luckily for sanities sake not all image classification is equally demanding.
The easiest elements of image classification relate to what I'm going to call image attributes metadata. This area, for me, covers all the metadata about the image files themselves, rather than information describing what is depicted in images and what images are about.
Metadata aspects in this area cover many things and there are also layers to consider:
1, The original object
-- This could a statue, an oil painting, a glass plate negative, a digital original, or a photographic print
2, The second generation images
-- The archive image taken of the original object, plus any further images, cut-down image files, screen sizes, thumbnails, images in different formats, Jpeg, Tiff etc
The first thing to think about is the need to create a fully and useful metadata scheme, capturing everything you need to know to support what you need to do. This may be to support archiving and/or search and retrieval.
Then look at what data you may already have or can obtain. Analyse data for accuracy and completeness and use whatever you can. Look to the new generation of digital cameras to obtain metadata from them. Ask image creators to create basic attribute data at the time of creation.
You'll be interested in the following metadata types:
- Scanner types
- Image processing activities
- Creator names
- Creator dates
- Last modified names
- Last modified dates
- Image sizes and formats
- Creator roles - photographers, artists, sculptures
- Locations of original objects
- Locations at which second generation images were created
- Unique image id numbers and batch numbers
- Secondary image codes that may come from various legacy systems
- Techniques used in the images - grain, blur etc
- Whether the images are part of a series and where they fit in that series
- The type of image - photographic print, glass plate negative, colour images, black and white images
This data really gives you a lot of background on the original and on the various second generation images created during production. Much of this data can either be obtained freely or cheaply, lots of it will be quick and easy to grab and enter into your systems. It should also be objective and easy to check.
My next post will cover dealing with depicted content in images. Please feel free to leave comments or questions on the subject.
Image|Flickr|Daniel Y. Go
Anonymous — October 19, 2008 - 12:35pm
Video might have killed the Radio Star but in today's video streaming world it certainly is helping distribute knowledge and that is why we are publishing a video page to augment our blog postings.
Very often i talk to clients and they are in need of information to learn about key concepts or even just to share a third party view with their colleagues about specific topics around controlled vocabularies that I know someone on the team has presented or written about. It could be for example providing a white paper about Audience Centric Views, a video overview of Taxonomy Management Tools and how to use these tools to collaborate around developing controlled vocabularies or a real life case study of an existing client using Synaptica. In the past, I have kept these references in a .txt file on my desktop that I reference when I need to, but since this blog is being used as a resource for both us internally here at Dow Jones as well as the community, i figured it would be a good time to start a Video Library of our Dow Jones public resources.
So without any further ado- our Dow Jones Video Library has been published.
This is just the start of turning Synaptica Central into a must go to resource for our community, so please watch this space for additional resource pages from recommended white papers, industry standards references, must see videos, must listen to podcasts and must read books!
Have suggestions of things we should make sure we add to our resource pages? Please leave them in the comments or drop me a note at email@example.com
Anonymous — October 13, 2008 - 3:49pm
OK Quick Monday Quiz: How Many Minutes Does It Take to Create a Category (aka term, node, leaf, etc)???
I suspect that anyone who has worked on developing a taxonomy has heard this question or a variation of it. It seems like we get it daily! Once a client decides they need or want a taxonomy – they need or want it immediately so figuring out when becomes the next question.
After almost 30 years of being involved in the development of controlled vocabularies, thesauri and taxonomies I should be able to say it takes X minutes per term but I’m still forced to tell clients that it will depend on a number of things that are usually covered in the Assessment Phase of any engagement like:
• What is the topic of the taxonomy?
• What is its intended purpose?
• What systems will you use to develop and maintain it?
Once we’ve answered all these questions, the next one is frequently whether they could just use a taxonomy that is already developed. No matter what approach is ultimately chosen to create a taxonomy – it still takes time and the ultimate answer is that it depends on what the client needs, how many terms there will be, how technical those terms are and the taxonomy development tool that is being used.
Building a taxonomy for an area that you are familiar with can be done fairly quickly while building one on scientific, technical or medical areas might be much slower. Adding to the issue of the topic is the issue of the tool where the taxonomy is being built. The more efficient the tool the faster the development once terms have been decided upon and research for the terms completed.
Experience in developing taxonomies has given me some general metrics that can be used for pricing a taxonomy but the reality is that the best answer is that it all depends on what is needed.
So – how long does it take?? – it takes as long as necessary!!
Anonymous — October 6, 2008 - 5:48pm
For some reason or another (lots of travel, several hats at home and work) I've had trouble finalizing this post. Earlier today though, I read Paul Miller's latest post on ZDNet. There seems to be some discussion about whether or not data is a commodity. I think there IS most definitely data that are a commodity.
Taxonomies are a valuable raw material in the management of information. A file that can be bought and sold and used to improve services. They can be generated by humans, machines, or even better: humans working with machines. Many taxonomies are a dime a dozen, with little to differentiate between versions of the same data. Some are like Kopi Luwak coffee - rare and extremely valuable. The word "taxonomy" is itself suffering from a kind of genericide. Classical definitions still apply: taxonomies have become commoditized.
The complexity of the controlled vocabulary will determine its value to a degree. A simple pick list should be easy and cheap to acquire - a list of countries, for example. Or colors, seasons, months - you get the idea. What is the value of a list of industries? Or companies? Maintenance is the primary cost factor - frequent changes require frequent updates, but an authority file in and of itself is not that complex. A broad and deep poly-hierarchical taxonomy I would expect to have more value. A poly-hierarchical taxonomy is one where a term in the taxonomy can have more than one parent term. Managing these relationships takes more time. An ontology - well, those aren't quite commodities yet, but they will get there. Why? Because they still require a great deal of thought and effort.
The source of the data will also help determine its value. Data from trusted sources - for whom integrity is paramount - should be valued higher. Is the data accurate? Is it maintained? Is it in a usable format? Does it have high availability? (Many quality vendors can be found at TaxonomyWarehouse.com.)
The uniqueness of the taxonomy will drive its value. Like our coffee example above, a taxonomy as ubiquitous as Starbucks will not be as valuable as say a pharmaceutical research vocabulary. Given the, uh, processes needed to produce Kopi Luwak, it is rare and therefore fetches a higher price, as would our R&D taxonomy.
The information security concerns also impact value. Our pharmaceutical company, or a financial services provider, is not about to release it's vocabulary into the wild. It is a significant intellectual asset that merits a substantial IT effort to protect.
I actually like the fact that taxonomies have become commoditized. Why? Competition drives improvement - in quality, in focus, in security and in usability. These are areas that the semantic web community needs to focus on - in my experience, security and usability need attention NOW. Good fences make good neighbors, and when we've got good fences, we can make more links and learn to trust. Icing on the cake!
Flickr image by INeedCoffee