Semantics, Linked Data, and the Future of Academic Publishing

November 3, 2014  
Posted in Access Insights, Featured, semantic

The rules for academic publishing really haven’t changed in centuries. Once, there was a large percentage of the populace who were skeptical of academic research, as was apparent when Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society began its publication life in 1665. To make the system work against that pushback, the method had to be codified. As a result, access to research material was difficult to attain, to the extent that scientists as late as the 19th century actively condoned criminal behavior just to have access to corpses for study and presentation.

It took a while, but given the advances that made everyone’s life better, people eventually put more trust in scientific research, so the bodies could stay resting in the ground and scientists could do their research in relative peace. Even so, publishing was still expensive and research material hard to find. In order to facilitate and disseminate the research, then, academic publishing took on a model that made it look much like a guild system, with all the benefits for those inside and all the roadblocks for the rest.

It made sense in those days, but it seems like advances in science and technology, as well as our general faith in the goodness of those things, would have opened research material availability. However, the reality is that, at best, the system has stayed the same, even with the rise of computers, which makes publishing fast and inexpensive. Even though it’s supposed to be about the science, it has become increasingly about the revenue.

As a result, the cost of a particular journal can run into the thousands of dollars and, as everywhere else today, organizational budgets for libraries have shrunk to the point that they are having to make hard decisions about which journals to cut out of their subscription loop. That’s plain sad, because, again, it’s supposed to be about the science.

Happily, though, we are in a particularly interesting place in history, in which our use of computer technology has become so sophisticated that it makes the old system appear rather silly. As individuals, we can go online and find mountains of content on any subject of interest, teach ourselves to do virtually anything, and make sense of things that people only a generation ago hadn’t the tools to even begin.

If it’s that easy for us, shouldn’t the path also be made clear for academics, scientists, and researchers, who are the ones advancing the fields that allow us as individuals to collect so much knowledge and information? Now, there are obvious considerations to keep in mind. First, and most importantly, it’s absolutely cost-prohibitive for individuals in general to access that material, same as it is for the researcher. That’s why they affiliate with budgeted organizations that can collect and store them for use. That’s great, but organizations can’t pay the prices—as much as $40,000 for a single year of a top journal—that the publishers charge, not for all of them that they might want or need, at least.

The model has to change, and that appears to be happening as I write. Organizations like the Public Library of Science (PLOS) are in full support of open access to scientific research, while the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) is actively engaged in creating what they’re calling the Semantic Web, a new way to look at the Internet, one that focuses on data in general rather than simply documents. This view puts entities (people, places, and things) in relationship to one another. By linking with one or many of existing datasets out there (DBpedia or Wikidata, for instance), one can access related content from around the web, while your data is added to the pile for others to access.

The greater the number of participating organizations, the better this is going to work. But I firmly believe that once people see the wealth of possibilities inherent in such a venture, their eyes will be opened to possibilities I can’t even imagine. Just look at what the BBC did with Linked Data for their coverage of the Olympics or the BBC Nature website. This stuff is absolutely amazing. BBC Nature, especially, thrills me. The deluge of information you return on a simple search for “koala” makes me want to learn everything I can about the little guys. How could anybody not want access like this?

You can’t put the genie back in the bottle, so as individuals and organizations get used to working in the Semantic Web, with all the access to information that comes with it, they’ll start to demand it everywhere. To publishers, the most important thing is always going to be the bottom line. There’s no real way to change that, except to drag them kicking and screaming into this brave new world of information exchange.

Daryl Loomis
Access Innovations

Not the TEXAS You Would Think

October 21, 2014  
Posted in News, semantic

Though it is a little short notice, it seemed important to let you know of a workshop at the 2014 Conference on Empirical Methods on Natural Language Processing (EMNLP) in Doha, Qatar, called “TEXAS: Taxonomy Extraction with Applications in Semantics” that may be of interest to those in the field.

The workshop addresses the importance of taxonomies in knowledge-based systems. Hierarchical structures provide valuable input in knowledge-intensive applications such as question answering and textual entailment and are useful tools for browsing and navigation of document collections, especially when applied for exploration and discovery. The TEXAS workshop aims to provide a venue for presenting and discussing approaches that evaluate taxonomy extraction.

Melody K. Smith

Sponsored by Access Innovations, the world leader in thesaurus, ontology, and taxonomy creation and metadata application.


Semantic Technology Speeds up Business Analytics

October 15, 2014  
Posted in News, search, semantic

IBM recently introduced Watson Analytics, a natural language-based cognitive service that can provide immediate and simple access to powerful predictive and visual analytic tools for businesses. KMWorld brought this news to us in their article, “IBM announces Watson Analytics.”

Business users can gain instant access to persona-based business scenarios specific to their role. Stop wasting time searching for answers or testing hypotheses when you can focus on understanding the business and effectively communicating results to stakeholders.

Natural language processing is utilized so business users can ask the right questions and get results in terms familiar to their business, terms that can be read and understood or interacted with. The first release of Watson Analytics will include a “freemium” version of its cloud-based service designed to run on desktop and mobile devices.

Melody K. Smith

Sponsored by Access Innovations, the world leader in thesaurus, ontology, and taxonomy creation and metadata application.

Covered In Metadata: Semantic Fingerprinting

October 13, 2014  
Posted in Access Insights, Featured, semantic

Once upon a time, there was a real art to finding something in a library, and the card catalog, in a way, was the medium. Those giant wooden cabinets were filled with mysteries to be uncovered, but the first mystery was how to navigate it. There were always the artists—the librarians—who could help you through it, but that is really only viable for a limited amount of content; librarians have other duties, after all.

For people with larger goals —authors, researchers, and the like—it could get complicated really fast. They’re never in the position of needing a single book or a single article; they need a mountain of them. If it’s a very narrow subject they were working in, it made things a little easier. But the broader the subject or the greater the number of narrow subjects, the more quickly it became clear just how much work it would be to successfully find everything they needed.

What’s more, it was virtually impossible to enrich the research with material they never knew existed, at least not without the direct help of a colleague or expert who could recommend new material to them.

It gets even more complicated when you start to consider expanding the search beyond specific titles into authors, publishers, or tangentially related subjects. Then you start to get into cross-references; those are complete sets of records in themselves. By now it’s an unmanageably huge amount of information to deal with, and librarians, magical though they may be, could only do so much.

The thing is that “once upon a time” really isn’t that long ago; advances in information sciences have turned that magic into something more accessible to everyone. Tagging documents with metadata to identify the author name, institutions, subject matter, or any relevant piece of information at all brings all of those card catalogs into a single databank, accessible all at once.

It opens up wide possibilities for content usage, but what about applying those same “tagging” principles to people? We like to call it Semantic Fingerprinting because, it turns out, tagging a person’s electronic record actually does reveal the uniqueness of the person.

In academic publishing, the benefit of this fingerprinting is pretty clear. Knowing the author’s name, date of birth, institution, or really anything you want allows him or her to be identified quickly and, more importantly, with accuracy. This is important for a couple of reasons.

On the author’s side, having proper credit for their work is of course important, and, with their name and, likely, their institution already tagged in their book or article, their identity is pointed straight at their tagged record, proving them the true author. Additionally, if the subject matter they’ve written about is tagged in their record, as well, a new article submission can be placed intelligently into the peer review process. If you write about nanotechnology, experts in the field can quickly be identified, and be sent the article for review, eliminating one of the many possible slowdowns in a tedious, but necessary process.

For the publisher, it’s just as important, as it makes categorization of various authors easier. With the subjects tagged, it becomes really easy to see in which journal the article belongs, but it also aids in sales and subscriptions, which are becoming more important to the whole process than ever.

Subscription prices are going up while institutional budgets are slashed, meaning that a university has to make some hard choices about which journals are most important to them. So for the publisher to be able to look at their author and institution identities is a big deal. If they get word that a university library is planning to cancel their subscription, they can match who from that institution published in the journal and suggest that maybe they reconsider, given that their faculty has published in the journal whatever number of times over the last ten years. It’s unfortunate to think of the bottom line all the time, but we’ve all got to keep the lights on.

Many of these same things apply for researchers, which gets back to the original problem of sifting through content in a library. When the document is tagged, the researcher can quickly identify all of an author’s published work, when it was published, and on what subjects. From those subjects, they can then see other authors who published on the same or related topics and, soon, you see a network of information starting to build that is massively useful to people all throughout the publishing process.

And while we talk about academic publishing a lot around these parts, the private sector can get just as much use out of Semantic Fingerprinting as the public. Suppose, as a random example, the manager of a corporate marketing department is trying to put together a team of people for a big campaign. The manager needs people with very specific skills that may or may not go along with their job descriptions. Let’s say that the manager had employees take a survey at some previous point, which suggested individual skill sets. What if, then, each individual had those skills tagged within their employee record? Rather than have to hunt or, worse, simply hope that the chosen employees can perform the duties, the manager could just look at those skill tags and pinpoint exactly who will do for what task.

I don’t know how many companies out there are doing stuff like that, but I can see so many possibilities in working with semantic fingerprints. I can imagine possibilities in just about any industry I can think of, and I’m sure there’s a mountain of uses that I haven’t fathomed yet. In connection with Linked Data, it could be almost endless.

Daryl Loomis
Access Innovations

Making Search Comprehensive

September 30, 2014  
Posted in News, search, semantic

fluid Operations has released version 5.5 of Information Workbench and eCloudManager. Open PR brought this news to our attention in their article, “Superyacht PR & marketing.”

Information Workbench is the company’s flagship product. This semantic integration platform is for optimizing information, service, and process lifecycle management. eCloudManager is an app for semantic data center and cloud management.

Comprehensive search is important for any document management system. It is so very important to choose a product that makes your content findable – easily and thoroughly. Proper indexing against a strong standards-based taxonomy increases the findability of data. Access Innovations is one of a very small number of companies able to help its clients generate ANSI/ISO/W3C-compliant taxonomies.

Melody K. Smith

Sponsored by Access Innovations, the world leader in thesaurus, ontology, and taxonomy creation and metadata application.

Semantics and Insects

September 16, 2014  
Posted in indexing, metadata, News, semantic

The Societas Europaea Lepidopterologica has recently joined efforts with Pensoft Publishers to bring the Society’s journal, Nota Lepidopterologica, to the world of open access. The first open access issue of the journal has been published. Knowledgespeak brought this interesting news to us in their article, “Societas Europaea Lepidopterologica journal Nota Lepidopterologica goes advanced open access with Pensoft Publishers.”

Societas Europaea Lepidopterologica is the European society for the study of moths and butterflies and for the conservation of these insects and their natural habitats. The scope of the journal has not changed. It continues to publish contributions to the study of mainly Palaearctic Lepidoptera, including taxonomy, morphology and anatomy, phylogenetics, biogeography, ecology, behavior, and conservation, as well as other aspects of lepidopterology.

The new online format of the journal is semantically enriched and brings new benefits and features, including tightening up the waiting time from acceptance to publication.

Melody K. Smith

Sponsored by Data Harmony, a unit of Access Innovations, the world leader in indexing and making content findable.

Digging a Little Deeper

August 25, 2014  
Posted in News, search, semantic

Semantic search combines natural language processing and computer technology to help people learn and share information quickly. How it is used and the different types of applications seems endless. After a car accident and subsequent coma ended up leaving one woman having to relearn how to do everything, she saw a need and built a semantic search company to discover the not-so-obvious information.

The technology behind Declara helps people discover esoteric and hard-to-find information. Declara has been used in education, pharmaceutical, and manufacturing industries, where a lack of knowledge transfer between employees could result in death. Tech Investor News brought this information to our attention in their article, “Semantic search will help find hidden knowledge in education and more.”

Semantic technology continues to grow and expand its uses. Search is just one of those. Access Innovations, developer of the M.A.I. machine-assisted indexing system, specializes in complex coding, tagging, and indexing.

Melody K. Smith

Sponsored by Access Innovations, the world leader in thesaurus, ontology, and taxonomy creation and metadata application.

Embracing Semantic Technology

August 22, 2014  
Posted in News, semantic

Cipher Systems has announced a new partnership with Semantic Research Inc. Together they will work together to integrate elements of SRI’s Semantica® software package and Cipher’s Knowledge.Works™ and Knowledge.Hub™ competitive intelligence software solutions. Digital Journal brought this interesting news to our attention in their article, “Cipher Systems Partners with Semantic Research to Extend Data-Intensive Analytics Solutions to Commercial Markets.”

“To make smart strategic decisions, our clients need to fully understand the business ecosystems in which they operate,” said Peter Grimm, Managing Director of Cipher. “SRI’s technology and approach builds on our existing capabilities to support companies seeking to better understand their competitors’ strategy, target key customer segments, detect fraud, optimize supply chains, or examine potential acquisition candidates. We are pleased to partner with a leader in network-focused analysis to bring new capabilities to our clients.”

Semantic technology requires a special knowledge of terminology and coding to reduce errors. Access Innovations, developer of the M.A.I. machine-assisted indexing system and specializing in complex coding, tagging, and indexing, provides a range of services that deliver tag integrity.

Melody K. Smith

Sponsored by Access Innovations, the world leader in thesaurus, ontology, and taxonomy creation and metadata application.

The Semantic Approach

August 19, 2014  
Posted in News, search, semantic

The possibilities and limitations of semantic search continue to be evaluated as more and more enterprises and applications utilize the technology. Semantic search can be challenging to understand, let alone implement. If all your experience of search engine use has been the Boolean search of the past, then this is a new world for you to explore.

The good news is that while semantic search may be difficult to implement at the Google level, for the end user it has actually become a little easier. This topic was inspired by the post on David Amerland’s blog, “Semantic Search – Three Basic Principles You Need to Know About.”

Semantic technology requires a special knowledge of terminology and coding to reduce errors. Access Innovations, developer of the M.A.I. machine-assisted indexing system and specializing in complex coding, tagging, and indexing, provides a range of services that deliver tag integrity.

Melody K. Smith

Sponsored by Access Innovations, the world leader in thesaurus, ontology, and taxonomy creation and metadata application.

Semantic Technology Gathers Industry Leaders

August 12, 2014  
Posted in News, semantic

fluidOps will present at Semantic Technology & Business Conference (SemTechBiz) next week in San Jose, California. This interesting news came to us from Open PR in their article, “fluidOps Presents Information Workbench at SemTechBiz 2014.” For the tenth time, SemTechBiz is gathering professionals in the industry to discuss how companies can use semantic technologies to generate revenues, save costs, and solve real problems in the era of big data. To view the three-day agenda or learn more about the conference speakers and registration options, visit

Semantic technology requires a special knowledge of terminology and coding to reduce errors. Access Innovations, developer of the M.A.I. machine-assisted indexing system and specializing in complex coding, tagging, and indexing, provides a range of services that deliver tag integrity. Even with semantic technology powering search, information management for any type of business is critical for fast, easy, and comprehensive findability.

Melody K. Smith

Sponsored by Access Innovations, the world leader in taxonomies, metadata, and semantic enrichment to make your content findable.

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