Thesaurus Software Directory Takes Up New Residence

April 17, 2014  
Posted in Access Insights, News, Taxonomy

It is difficult to find a list of taxonomy management software that is both comprehensive and up to date, yet not overwhelmed with related products and services. For a long time, perhaps the most comprehensive directory of taxonomy software was that of the British consultant Leonard Will, who has since retired. Considering the valuable and respected content, we at Access Innovations recognize our good fortune and huge responsibility of now hosting and maintaining the Willpower thesaurus software directory. The history of how this came to be can found in The Accidental Taxonomist blog post titled, “Taxonomy Software Directories.”

The core of TaxoBank‘s directory “Software for building and editing thesauri” at present is still essentially the same as the Willpower site, with some additions and changes here and there.

Melody K. Smith

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




The Evolution of Science

April 16, 2014  
Posted in Autoindexing, indexing, News, Taxonomy

Science is all about evolution and that includes the library of science, specifically the Public Library of Science (PLOS) and their thesaurus. With more than 10,700 subject area terms, they use the thesaurus to index articles and provide useful links to related papers, enhanced search functions, and PLOS ONE – an e-journal platform with subject area browsing capability made possible by the PLOS thesaurus. This interesting information was found on the PLOS blog in the post titled, “Thesaurus evolution – a case study in “Synthetic biology.”

What happens if they decide to renovate a sector of the thesaurus to better reflect the make-up of the PLOS corpus? How does that affect the machine aided indexing? This very interesting blog post delves in deeper.

PLOS is a nonprofit publisher and advocacy organization founded to accelerate progress in science and medicine by leading a transformation in research communication.

The PLOS Thesaurus was built largely by Access Innovations, one of a very small number of companies able to help its clients generate ISO/ANSI/NISO compliant thesauri and taxonomies to produce comprehensive results.

Melody K. Smith

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

Intro to Taxonomies – Learning Opportunity

April 15, 2014  
Posted in Access Insights, News, Taxonomy

Learn from professionals with decades of experience all while enjoying the Canadian hospitality in beautiful Vancouver. The “Introduction to Taxonomies” all day workshop features our own Marjorie Hlava and Bob Kasenchak, and is part of the Special Libraries Association (SLA) Annual Conference in Vancouver, June 6-10, 2014. The SLA Annual Conference is an excellent international venue for learning new ideas and identifying information trends.

The workshop introduces participants to the basic methodologies and techniques for taxonomy development, as well as providing an overview of taxonomy standards and their application in search, web sites, publishing, retail and e-commerce, records management, and other organizational needs. After learning about the principles and core standards of controlled vocabularies, participants will explore key concepts of taxonomies, thesauri, indexing, classification, and filtering. Discussion will include the basics of a taxonomy record and fundamental term relationships. Attendees will put concepts into practice through multiple exercises, including creating a simple taxonomy.

Register for the workshop here.

Melody K. Smith

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

Approach with Consistency

April 14, 2014  
Posted in News, Standards, Taxonomy

The National Information Standards Organization (NISO) recently announced the publication of a revision to the Knowledge Bases and Related Tools (KBART) Recommended Practice (NISO RP-9-2014). The original recommended practice, which was issued in 2010, provided all parties in the information supply chain with straightforward guidance about metadata formatting­.

The revision includes the more granular, complex issues that cause problems in metadata supply, including consortia-specific metadata and metadata transfer for open access publications, e-books, and conference proceedings. More information is available on the NISO website. NISO is a non-profit association accredited by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) that identifies, develops, maintains, and publishes technical standards to manage information in our changing and  ever-more digital environment.

To provide quality taxonomy development services, it has never been more important to approach knowledge organization based on accepted and shared standards. Access Innovations is one of a very small number of companies that can help you generate ANSI/ISO/W3C-compliant taxonomies.

Melody K. Smith

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

A Taxonomy of Me

April 8, 2014  
Posted in News, Taxonomy

I couldn’t help myself. A taxonomy of selfies? How could I look away? Please forgive my self-indulgence (pun totally intended). The Week brought a hilarious version of a taxonomy to our attention in their article, “A taxonomy of selfies.”

I won’t assume that everyone knows about selfies or understands what they are. Selfies are defined by Wikipedia as “a type of self-portrait photograph, typically taken with a hand-held digital camera or camera phone.” Social media didn’t bring us the selfie, but it certainly was a significant reason for their popularity. They have a bit of vanity to them, usually some quirky fun, and occasionally some art quality.

This particular article’s author subdivided the selfie into eight different categories:

  • The Delphie: A picture that predicts an imminent disaster.
  • The Dumbfie: A selfie you really just shouldn’t take.
  • The Tellfie: A picture is worth a thousand words. This type of selfie tells a story.

If these intrigue you, read the article for the rest. Now, get back to work.

Melody K. Smith

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

The Semantics of Whisk(e)y

April 7, 2014  
Posted in Access Insights, Featured, Taxonomy

As noted last week in our article, “A Spirit of Another Name“, Saveur has created a glossary of Whisk(e)ys. However, as we all know, a glossary does not a taxonomy make –it can, however, be a good starting point.

One of the problems, of course, is that national styles – and even spellings – are mutable.

In general, “whiskey” comes from Ireland and the United States, while “whisky” (no ‘e’) comes from Canada and Scotland.  However, well-known bourbon Maker’s Mark long ago decided to buck the semantic trend and drop the “e” despite being an all-American brand.

The Japanese usually use the Scottish version (being heavily influenced by Scotch). However, there are now whisk(e)ys being made in France, Wales, Germany, Australia, Finland, India, Sweden, Spain, and the Czech Republic, to name a few. Adoption of one or the other spelling variant is, well, varied.

Besides, once we accept that “whiskey” and “whisky” are synonyms, the spelling has little to do with the semantics.

It’s more important to understand the legal (and in some cases, traditional but perhaps not codified) production requirements that define the various styles; these are often (but not always) defined by name and region.

For example: Canadian whisky is, by law, allowed to have up to 9.09% “flavorings” – a category of adulterants with no definition (but which in practice include artificial colors, many different sweeteners, prune and other fruit juices, etc.). Scotch whisky can have caramel color added, but no flavorings. Bourbon, on the other hand, can be cut to proof with water, but must by law have no additives for either color or flavor. This gives Canadian whisky its characteristic sweet taste.

Straight Bourbon Whiskey is, in fact, the most strictly defined and regulated of the whiskeys – although, contrary to common beliefs, it need not be made in Kentucky. It must, however, be produced in the United States from spring water; the mash (mixture of grains) must comprise at least 51% corn (the rest being barley, wheat, and rye); it must be aged no less than 24 months in new charred American white oak barrels; and of course it must not contain any additives. (For the record, Rye is identical to Bourbon with the very important exception that it must contain no less than 51% rye.)

Other factors are also in play. For example, Irish whiskey is almost always triple-distilled, while Scotch is almost always double-distilled. Scotch is further delineated by region (Highland, Campbeltown, Islay, Highland Islands, Lowland; Speyside is a sub-region of Highland) and drying methods (whether peat, gas, or coal is used to dry the grain to stop the germination process) as well as the various permutations of blends, single malts, and vatted malts (by many names), not to mention other variants such as single-barrel, cask-strength, and various “finishes” in casks which formerly held other kinds of spirits.

Now that is a categorization problem.

In constructing a taxonomy of whisk(e)y, a faceted approach might be best. However, given the limited space here, let’s just take a quick crack.  (The Top Term is of course “Whiskey” UF=Whisky.)

Whiskey Blends
. . Blended Whiskey
. . Grain whiskey
. . . . Corn whiskey
. . Vatted Malts   [UF=Blended Malts   SN=Comprised of various single malts, no “grain”]
. . Single Malts
Whiskey Production
. . Peated Whiskey   [RT=Islay Whisky]
. . Pot still Whiskey
. . Single barrel Whiskey   [UF=Single-barrel Whiskey]
. . Small batch Whiskey
. . Whiskey Distillation
. . . . Double Distillation   [UF=Double-distilled]
. . . . Triple Distillation   [UF=Triple-distilled]
Whiskey Regions
. . American Whiskey
. . . . Bourbon Whiskey
. . . . California Whiskey
. . . . Oregon Whiskey
. . . . [add other states as necessary]
. . . . Rye Whiskey
. . . . Tennessee Whiskey
. . Australian Whiskey
. . Canadian Whisky
. . European Whiskeys
. . . . Czech Whisky
. . . . Finnish Whisky
. . . . French Whisky
. . . . German Whisky
. . . . Irish Whiskey
. . . . Scotch Whisky
. . . . . . Campbeltown Whisky
. . . . . . Highland Whisky
. . . . . . . . Speyside Whisky
. . . . . . . . Highland Island Whisky
. . . . . . Islay Whisky
. . . . . . Lowland Whisky
. . . . Welsh Whisky
. . . . Spanish Whisky
. . . . Swedish Whisky
. . . . [add others as needed]
. . Indian Whisky
. . Japanese Whiskey
Whiskey Strengths
. . Cask Strength
. . Overproof   [SN=95 proof or higher]
. . Standard proof   [SN=80 to 94 proof*]

*this is a little arbitrary but reflects industry norms

UF=Use For

SN=Scope Note

RT=Related term

Clearly I’m missing cask finishes (mostly in Scotch, but now reaching Bourbon territory) and a few other things. (Hey, it’s just a blog post.)  Ages, also, could quickly become a problem: no one wants a list of cardinal numbers in their thesaurus.

The various brands could, then, be narrower terms in the hierarchy I’ve sketched out above.

In order to avoid massive categorization issues and massive duplication (instead of going Netflix-style, as “Single malt overproof cask-finished Campbeltown Scotch whiskey” is a pretty unwieldy taxonomy term) you’d have to apply multiple labels to categorize each individual item. Imagining this would be most useful for e-commerce (as opposed to scholarly document categorization) helps: think about browseable tabs on a website; you’d want to find Laphroig under both “Peated Whiskeys” and “Islay Whiskys” to allow people to find what they were looking for using multiple approaches.

This is why I described it as a “faceted approach.” But let’s not get into that now. For the same reason, though, I’m going to stop while I’m ahead.

Bob Kasenchak, Project Coordinator
Access Innovations

It is Just a Taxonomy

April 2, 2014  
Posted in Autoindexing, News, Taxonomy

We have shared here many times the angst of those who are worried about the ICD-10 coding classification transition that goes into effect on October 1, 2014. The new classification system has five times the number of codes, hence the angst.

In the world of taxonomy, though, it is just another classification scheme. A large one, yes, but a classification scheme no different from any other hierarchical or drill-down scheme where data flows from parent to child. ICD-10 originated as an international standard with 12 top-level nodes that drill down to about four or five levels. Specifically, the ICD-10 codes consist of two parts:  ICD-10-CM for diagnosis coding and the ICD-10-PCS for inpatient procedure coding. Basically, one taxonomy is for diseases and one is for procedures to treat diseases. GCN brought this news to our attention in their article, “Stop the fear mongering over ICD-10: It’s just another taxonomy.”

A standards-based taxonomy can help you provide clear order to your data, which enables comprehensive search results. Standards are key to a solid taxonomy and comprehensive indexing. Access Innovations, developer of the M.A.I. machine assisted indexing system on which Access Integrity’s ICD Tagger technology is based, specializes in complex coding, tagging, and indexing. Access Innovations provides training to a client’s staff and then offers quality assurance and validation services that can assist in minimizing the risk of a coding error and identifying inappropriately applied tags.

Melody K. Smith

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

Knowledge Organization Systems and Return on Investment (KOSs and ROI)

Let’s call him George. George was having a very bad day. He needed legal advice. So, over his lunch hour he scheduled an appointment. After George described his situation, the lawyer pulled a book from the shelf behind him. After briefly scanning it and checking precedent, he confidently told George with a smile, “Relax. This is a slam dunk.” On his way out of the office, George gazed at the consultation invoice and muttered to himself: “15 minutes! Only 15 minutes and he charged me $325.00!”

On his way back to the office, George’s car starting making some serious grinding noises whenever he turned to the right. He pulled into the local Fix-It-All Garage and described the noise to the technician. After turning over the keys, George looked through the large glass window as the mechanic pulled here and tugged there at his car up on the lift. After only a few keystrokes at his computer station, the technician began installing over the next ten minutes what looked to George like a $10.00 part. In the blink of an eye, George was standing at the counter with another invoice. He called his wife to grumble: “He pulled and tugged in two different spots and then charged me $325.00. I’m in the wrong line of work!”

Certain that his ulcer was acting up, George stopped at the clinic on his way home that day. The doctor, who agreed to fit him in right away, asked a few short questions, consulted his desk reference guide,  and started writing a prescription. Moments later, speechless George could only grimace as he faced yet another hefty bill. Poor George.

Besides a considerable amount of cash, what was George missing? Someone might say that George knew the cost of everything, but the value of nothing. Because George was able to successfully confront and overcome several perplexing and complex problems, someone else might say, “What a great quality of life George has!” It all looked so deceptively easy. However, to focus only on the “interface” is to fail to consider the years of training and experience behind each professional who knew just what questions to ask, just where to look and pull and tug, and just which resource to consult.

How does one measure the true value of successful information organization, navigation, and retrieval? Access Innovations Inc. offers superior customer service, ease of product use, and support, combined with years of experience in order to provide outstanding quality. Speak with the CEO of Access Innovations, Inc., Jay Van Eman, about the qualitative and quantitative criteria used to assess successful KOSs and the proper rationale for measuring ROI in your setting. Are you getting real value for the cost?

Check out these additional resources:

Why Knowledge Management Is Important To The Success Of Your Company

The Use of Return on Investment (ROI) in the Performance Measurement and Evaluation of Information Systems

ROI & Impact: Quantitative & Qualitative Measures for Taxonomies

Eric Ziecker, Information Consultant
Access Innovations, Inc.

A Spirit of Another Name

March 31, 2014  
Posted in News, Taxonomy

I live in Kentucky. You can’t look either direction without seeing a billboard for one bourbon brand or another. It is infiltrated into our environment and definitely our economics. We all have our favorites and then there are the illusive brands that many covet and/or steal. But what is the difference between whisky, whiskey, and bourbon? Is there a difference? One interesting and humorous look at a different type of glossary or some would say pseudo-taxonomy recently appeared on Drizly Blog in their post, “A Whiskey Glossary.”

I have heard that bourbon comes from Kentucky and whiskey/whisky comes from Tennessee. But is it that simple? Is it really just a geographic difference, or does that geographic location actually make a difference in the process and/or taste? Those questions are addressed in this blog, along with the fact that the answers aren’t firm. Even the Tennessee legislature is still debating what defines Tennessee whiskey.

Melody K. Smith

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

Records Management in the Court System

March 26, 2014  
Posted in Access Insights, indexing, metadata, News, Taxonomy

Of course, records play a vital role in the litigation process, as any records management professional would affirm. But what exactly is their role?

Attend the 2014 ARMA Rio Grande Information Governance: ORDER! Are you ready for court? conference and you can find out. A substantial line-up of speakers will share some first-hand experience lessons in how records are used and how crucial a good records management program assists in the litigation process.

Our own Margie Hlava will be speaking about the basics of a building a functional taxonomy and examining how  good taxonomy structure contributes to eDiscovery success. She will share how a well-built taxonomy is part of the foundation for information architecture that underlies content management systems (CMS), web sites, corporate intranets, search retrieval, and access to relevant content in databases.

Melody K. Smith

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

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