Anonymous — September 30, 2008 - 8:20am
At last week's conferences we had the wonderful opportunity to show the attendees how one of our customers utilizes Synaptica our Taxonomy and Metadata Management software.
Paula McCoy, Taxonomy Manager at ProQuest joined me on stage for two sessions during Enteprise Search Summit and Taxonomy Bootcamp. ProQuest provides global access to one of the largest online content repositories in the world and Paula is responsible for maintaining their controlled vocabularies that both editor's and end users use.
The case study addresses the challenges ProQuest faced in managing multilingual controlled vocabularies using multiple Word documents and authority files maintained in an Oracle database. During her presentations, Paula describes how implementing a thesaurus management tool helped ProQuest simplify and standardize its business semantic management to create a common language and connect disparate information assets as well as handling large and varied vocabularies and authority files, linking new and existing editorial systems and enabling hierarchical views, and automating thesaurus management tasks.
Note: Unfortunately the video does not focus on the slides during the taping like some of my other videos i posted from the conference so i have embedded the slides for you to follow along (maybe open a second window and click through).
The first session is 30 minutes and i go through what is and why customers use Centralized Taxonomy Management tools in the first 15 minutes and then Paula presents how she uses Synaptica daily to maintain the ProQuest taxonomies.
Centralized Taxonomy Management for Enterprise Information Systems
The second is a 45minute full Case Study (you only hear me introduce Paula and make some comments about how we need to make Taxonomy exciting!)
Finding a Common Language: Bringing Complex and Disparate Vocabularies Together
Thanks again to Paul McCoy who did an awesome Job!! Thanks!
Anonymous — September 29, 2008 - 4:13pm
I think next year i am going to do a Top Ten reasons you should <3 your Taxonomist as a late afternoon skit to get Taxonomy Bootcamp attendees jamming after those heavy lunches! Back to back sessions on the subject of taxonomy sometimes needs a little excitement injected into the day so i am plotting already...
This year one of the sessions i enjoyed the most was Gary Carlson's session on 'The Eight Habits of Successful Taxonomists' that he kindly let me video tape so we can share with all of you who did not make it to Bootcamp this year.
Gary runs his own consulting company called Gary Carlson Consulting and has over 20 years of experience as a taxonomist, consultant, product manager, and information manager working for small to Fortune 100 companies. [Click full screen toggle from panel below for best quality]
So what are the eight habits of a successful taxonomist?
#1- Sets expectations
#2- Knows the Technology
#3- Pays Attention to Workflow
#4- Avoids Religious Wars "Leave dogma at the door!"
#5- Follows the $$ Money $$
#6- Is a Good Listener
#7- Does not use the word 'taxonomy' in polite company
#8- Is a good Juggler!
Some good practical advice that Gary shared with us in conclusion to his presentation:
1. Identify the business problem at the start of the project
2. Gathering requirements for a taxonomy is a huge process and can lead to many different areas of the organization
3. Align your projects with the business and preferably with generating revenue rather then efficiency
4. And most importantly? Have Fun!!!
You can download the complete slide deck here: http://www.garycarlsonconsulting.com/pdf/taxonomy-boot-camp-preso.pdf
What do you think are other habits that a successful Taxonomist might have? Please leave them in the comments!
Juggler Image| Flicker |Marco Fedele1089
Anonymous — September 29, 2008 - 11:25am
While I was at Enterprise Search Summit and Taxonomy Boot Camp, I heard some really interesting presentations. On Wednesday I sat in on a presentation by Ahren Lehnert titled "Taxonomy and Resource Location: Finding the Who and the What" . This was a really good presentation because it addressed some of the ways we have been advocating using 'taxonomies' that might be new approaches for some and therefore it resonated with me because it’s something I have been speaking to my customers about.
Ahren’s presentation was about how it can be difficult for an organization to capture and retrieve knowledge and expertise held by resources, both internal and external. He discussed how combining taxonomy and search can help organizations with resource location.
He noted that one challenge is finding the right person with the right skills. In a large company this can be difficult because there are so many roles and such a variety in skill sets among employees. In small organizations the difficulty stems from having fewer roles, and therefore, fewer skill sets. He also made the point that job titles don’t always indicate what knowledge and skill sets are associated. An additional challenge can be the result of a merger or acquisition—each company could have unique titles for the same position, or the same title could be used to describe different positions. The information about these resources can be found in a variety of places—wikis, blogs, human resources applications, sales applications, project management applications, and content management systems. The key is to be able to surface content from all of these repositories through a single search.
Here is an Example:
Employee X creates a user profile on the wiki and lists her job skills and interests. She also co-authors a report for a shoe manufacturer. She then attended a seminar on SharePoint and Taxonomy and blogged about it. HR already has her resume on file, which lists her former positions.
If I am working on a project with that same shoe manufacturer, I might be interested in talking with others who have expertise in that area. Employee X could be a great resource, but it is possible I don’t know that she exists, much less that she has experience working with that particular client. If I could search across all the repositories of information, and a controlled vocabulary were leveraged in that search, I should be able to find Employee X and contact her about the project. The knowledge is there, it just needs to be organized with a taxonomy and retrieved using search combined with the taxonomy.
When we work on client engagements, we work directly with the client to assess the various repositories of information and develop taxonomy strategies that many times includes vast amount of information about their employees. Using our Process Model for Developing & Deploying Taxonomies we can also build custom taxonomies that can be leveraged in the client’s enterprise search solutions. Often however a client will also have an existing taxonomy in place so it just needs to be enhanced to meet the current needs as well as expand it out for expertise location.
In conclusion- controlled vocabularies can and should be used in various ways to assist corporate users in finding information- from finding the right report with a quick search to finding the right person to validate an opportunity with a quick call or email and Ahren's presentation at the Enterprise Search Summit gave us all some good examples of how and why this should be done.
Image| created with http://wordle.net
Synaptica and Dow Jones Taxonomy Services Video Collection: Summary: Here you will find videos that have been either produced by Dow Jones or feature a Dow Jones employee or customer discussing the topic of the development, management and governance of controlled vocabularies. This includes customer case studies, conference presentations and panel discussions and product demonstrations.
November 2008 Synaptica: SharePoint Integration In November we announced our new SharePoint Integration . This video takes you through a short demo of the SharePoint Integration: http://blip.tv/file/1475940
September 2008 Synaptica Case Study: Proquest: Finding a Common Language: Bringing Complex and Disparate Vocabularies Paula R McCoy, Manager, Taxonomy Development, ProQuest Daniela Barbosa, Synaptica Business Development Manager, Dow Jones Client Solutions, Dow Jones & Company This case study addresses the challenges ProQuest faced in managing multilingual controlled vocabularies using multiple Word documents and authority files maintained in an Oracle database. Speakers describe how implementing a thesaurus management tool helped ProQuest simplify and standardize its business semantic management to create a common language and connect disparate information assets as well as handling large and varied vocabularies and authority files, linking new and existing editorial systems and enabling hierarchical views, and automating thesaurus management tasks.This session was sponsored by Dow Jones Synaptica. http://blip.tv/file/1306890
September 2008 Centralized Taxonomy Management for Enterprise Information Systems Daniela Barbosa, Synaptica Business Development Manager, Dow Jones Client Solutions, Dow Jones & Company Paula R McCoy, Manager, Taxonomy Development, ProQuest Now that you have built your taxonomies, you need to manage and maintain them in a centralized environment that can be leveraged by all of your enterprise applications including search tools, portals, and CMS/DMS systems. This session will review some best practices in centralized taxonomy management and go through the implementation of a thesaurus management tool at ProQuest, which enabled them to create a common language to connect disparate information assets using large and varied vocabularies and authority files linked to new and existing editorial systems. This session was sponsored by Dow Jones Synaptica. http://blip.tv/file/1307166
March 2008: iKMS: Marti Heyman on ROI Analysis for Taxonomy Programs Video by: Patrick Lambe www.greenchameleon.com In this talk for the Information and Knowledge Management Society of Singapore (www.ikms.org) on 13 March 2008, Marti Heyman Director of Taxonomy Services at Dow Jones, discusses the problems associated with ROI for taxonomy programs, and the key steps in ROI analysis. In this first part she discusses the issues around ROI. This session was sponsored by Dow Jones Synaptica. Part 1 of 3: http://blip.tv/file/917758/ Part 2 of 3 : http://blip.tv/file/917962/ Part 3 of 3: http://blip.tv/file/917979/
March 2008: iKMS: Christine Connors on User Driven Taxonomies Video by: Patrick Lambe www.greenchameleon.com In this talk for the Information and Knowledge Management Society of Singapore (www.ikms.org) on March 13 2008 Christine Connors Director of Semantic Technologies at Dow Jones and Business Champion of Synaptica, explains the rationale for a hybrid approach to taxonomy development, harnessing user inputs and activity as well as the traditional controlled approach, giving examples from her pioneering work at Raytheon. This talk was sponsored by Dow Jones Synaptica. In the first part, Christine gives a general rationale for a more user driven approach. Part 1 of 3: http://blip.tv/file/917603/ Part 2 of 3: http://blip.tv/file/917629/ Part 3 of 3: http://blip.tv/file/917691/
November 2007: Synaptica Case Study Abbott: From Taxonomy to Ontology: Laying the GroundWork for the Semantic Web Presented by Jennifer Borrell, Associate Information Scientist at Abbott Laboratories Jennifer takes us through how Abbott Laboratories uses Synaptica to build and maintain their Ontologies. Presents a high level overview of how Abbott views ontologies and how they are laying the Groundwork to Improve User Productivity. Sponsored by Dow Jones Client Solutions. http://blip.tv/file/482545
August 2007: Using Tools to Manage Taxonomies Video by: Patrick Lambe www.greenchameleon.com Dave Clarke, CEO of Synaptica (Synaptica/Synapse co-founder) In this video Dave Clarke describes how tools can be used to manage taxonomies, for an iKMS evening talk on 30 August 2007. In part one Dave describes how you can use tools to manage the collaboration required in building and maintaining taxonomies. In part two Dave describes how you can use tools to support the taxonomy creation process and in part three Dave describes how taxonomy tools can link different enterprise applications, including legacy taxonomies. Part 1 of 3: http://blip.tv/file/375135/ Part 2 of 3: http://blip.tv/file/375156/ Part 3 of 3: http://blip.tv/file/375196/
Anonymous — September 26, 2008 - 7:54am
Day 1 at Taxonomy Bootcamp covered a lot of basic taxonomy principles such as planning and implanting taxonomy, choosing taxonomy software and indexing principles. The talk by Heather covered the perennial issue of human vs. auto-indexing and whether it was possible to ascertain whether one was better than the other or not. Ultimately, whichever method was selected, it depended on the purpose of the taxonomy and its use. It was emphasized that indexing was best used for search and retrieval.
Before the virtues and drawbacks of each indexing method were explored, Heather provided clarity on what indexing was and how it differed from tagging and categorisation. In a nutshell:
• Indexing is done by a trained indexer, preferably with subject matter knowledge and is largely used for browsing.
• Tagging can be done by anyone and is the applying of labels to documents. These tags can then be used by a database.
• Categorisation is the grouping and placing of information in buckets in a systematic manner.
The differences in human and auto-indexing were covered in 3 broad areas, namely contents/materials handled, methodology and technology. In terms of contents, human indexing would be at its best if the contents were in manageable numbers and included a variety of formats and subjects/topics. On the other hand, auto-indexing would work well for very large numbers of documents, textual documents (no images!) and single subject areas.
Technology-wise, indexers (humans) use fairly simple and straightforward indexing tools which were designed so that indexing could be carried out in quickly and accurately. There was also the flexibility for indexers to input new terms, when necessary. Training for indexers could be carried out with the use of indexing guideline (both for development and quality checking). Auto-indexing was a little more complex as in required an entity extractor and text had to be mined and analysed. Although auto-indexing is done by the machines, there still has to be human intervention in the form of rules building as well as to provision of sample documents to of the ‘train the automated indexing’.
Having covered the pros and cons of each, the next part of the talk focused on the differences in the terms. Terms indexed by human and machines can be differentiated through their granularity, types of relationships, descriptions/notes and types synonyms/variants. The main difference in the term relationship between human and auto indexing is that in human indexing, there are both hierarchical and associative relationships. In human indexing, there can also be more notes which are visible to the end user and indexer.
Heather also touched on the differences in synonyms/variants between humanly indexed terms and auto-indexed terms. For example, in human indexing, abbreviations are allowed for common terms whereas in auto-indexing, the machine will not be able to understand the abbreviations.
She concluded with a short description of the additional tasks that an indexer would have to do in both human and auto-indexing. Both would require human intervention, its just that the tasks and extent of work is different. For human indexing, terms have to be checked and amended/added in if terms are omitted or misused. In the case of auto-indexing, the work is more focused on the training documents and adjustments of the rules.
This was a very factual and descriptive presentation on both human and automated indexing. It was reiterated that no one method is better than the other and the choice of either one is simply dependent on the usage of the taxonomy. The use of the taxonomy should determine whether human or automated indexing should be done. Both will yield different results in terms of structure and terms created. Both will also require a different level of human intervention in rules building or policy development.
Heather’s website can be found at http://www.hedden-information.com