Transparency Reduces Conflict

March 31, 2015  
Posted in News, Taxonomy

The Wellcome Trust and Digital Science have introduced a ‘contributor role taxonomy’ in an effort to provide classification of the roles performed by individuals in the work leading to published academic research. The purpose of the CRediT Taxonomy is to provide transparency in contributions to scholarly published work. Research Information brought this interesting news to our attention in their article, “Shake-up for system of credit in scholarly communication.”

The taxonomy will be published to the Consortia Advancing Standards in Research Administration Information (CASRAI) Data Dictionary and will lay the foundation for appropriate credit where it is due. This hopefully will result in fewer author disputes and fewer disincentives to collaboration and the sharing of data and code.

How the content is classified impacts the findability of your data. Professionals should look for an experienced builder of solid standards-based taxonomies to associate content for appropriate machine-assisted indexing. Access Innovations can provide solutions that are ANSI compliant.

Melody K. Smith

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

Last Week for Taxonomy Boot Camp Proposals

March 26, 2015  
Posted in News, Taxonomy

Taxonomy Boot Camp is the only conference dedicated to exploring the successes, challenges, products, and development of taxonomies. You have the opportunity to share your experiences and knowledge, and to work with taxonomies, ontologies, folksonomies, content labeling systems, and other mechanisms for organizing information at this one-of-a-kind boutique learning and networking event.

Taxonomies are powerful tools used by a wide range of professionals, from marketers to data scientists, for solving diverse problems from navigation to product information management. Don’t delay, submit your proposal prior to Friday, March 27, 2015.

Taxonomies are a critical part of the information architecture. They make your information work. From novice taxonomist to seasoned ontologist, Taxonomy Boot Camp offers something of interest for everyone.

Melody K. Smith

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

Classification Goes Mobile

March 26, 2015  
Posted in News, Taxonomy

Softonic has acquired AppCrawlr, the intelligent semantic-based app search engine that lets users find apps using contextual search. This interesting information came from Mobile World Live in their article, “Softonic looks to improve app discovery through AppCrawlr acquisition.”

AppCrawlr’s semantic app search technology automatically identifies and builds tens of thousands of categories to classify apps, and allows users to search for apps by either describing who they are, what they want to achieve, or the app features they need.

Classifying apps? Like a taxonomy?

Classification takes on many different styles and approaches. True taxonomies can help manage big data by providing a solid standards-based taxonomy to index against. The results are comprehensive and consistent search results. Access Innovations is one of a very small number of companies able to help its clients generate ANSI/ISO/W3C-compliant taxonomies because of consistency.

Melody K. Smith

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

The Promise and Pitfalls of Classifying Food

March 24, 2015  
Posted in Access Insights, Featured, Taxonomy

As a lover of all things tasty, my mind often turns to the kinds of food and drink that I love. As someone who works with taxonomies and thesauri, I tend to try to classify them. Often, though, I don’t get very far with it because I start to get hungry. However, I just ate, so I don’t think it’ll be so much of an issue this time.

Classifying food is at once extraordinarily basic and mind-bogglingly complex, depending on how deep you want to go with it. At its simplest, you have the USDA food pyramid (or plate, depending on when you’re talking about). As a simple guide to make sure your kids are eating the right proportions, the USDA guide can be helpful, if problematic. As a way to look at meaningful relationships between food, though, it’s simply too narrow to be of any real use.

To see a much more complex food classification system, one can simply enter a grocery store.  In there, thousands of food items sit on shelves, organized in a very specific, scientifically driven way. This organization, though, is based on sales maximization, not organizational consistency. That’s how rice ends up in multiple places, with the cheap basic stuff with the other staples and nicely packaged, and pricier styles in International Foods, or somewhere similar. So while there are very good reasons for how the items in a grocery store are arranged, this isn’t the kind of organization that I mean.

I’m thinking of organization based on what food and drink is and how it is viewed by cooks and eaters, not on how to boost sales of the latest in frozen pot pies. However, this can get extremely complicated.

With thousands of various types of food and drink in this world, questions immediately arise that confuse the issue. We all know what bread is, and we all know what cake is. They use nearly all the same ingredients and the result is similar, if very distinct. If we’re building a taxonomy, are they distinct concepts? Is cake a type of bread, or is the fact that one is eaten mostly for dessert, while the other generally isn’t, a big enough difference to keep them separated? How about a box of macaroni and cheese? Obviously, a greater part of what’s in that box is pasta, but in the grocery store, it’s generally nowhere near an actual package of macaroni. Does that little bag of weird cheese powder in the box make it an entirely different product? It seems like a subset to me.

There are problems like this everywhere, which makes attempts at organization seem futile. Where do we even start? In taxonomic terms, the basically useless (for our purposes) food pyramid gives us a few broadest terms to work with. It’s woefully incomplete, but it’s a place to start. Australia did something a little like this with their Australian Health Survey Classification System, which was designed “to group similar foods and report trends in consumption by food category.” While it’s useful and quite interesting from a public health perspective, the near-700 line spreadsheet makes it indecipherable for use by your average eater.

Unless all we want is an organized but flat list of foods and beverages, it seems we must decide on the purpose of the classification, because nothing is going to be one-size-fits-all. There isn’t a comprehensive food taxonomy out there, at least that I know of, but there some really intriguing things that people have done with very specific kinds of classification.

In his book, On Food and Cooking: The Science and Lore of the Kitchen, food scientist and writer Harold McGee features a two-page table (which I cannot post here) that features, on the y-axis, the names of commonly used herbs, and on the x-axis, the chemical compounds that give each its distinct flavor. One look at the table reveals how much is shared between different herbs. Say you’re cooking something and need basil, but are surprisingly all out of it. McGee’s table can show you what other herbs contain the chemical or chemicals that you need to match that flavor. You might get some extra stuff in the dish that you didn’t need, but you will have the flavors that you want.

Then there’s chef Marc Powell, who built a food app that reads menus, turns them into XML documents, and tags them with taxonomy-based metadata for taste, texture, and other food characteristics. This metadata can then be used to do make recommendations for balancing the flavors of a dish, providing a list of ingredients to concoct possible dishes, or any number of possibilities.

I would absolutely love to use that tool; it’s exactly the sort of thing that I want, though for it to work the way I have in my head, I don’t think a simple taxonomy, no matter how large, would be enough, precisely because of the complications that I describe above. On the other hand, an ontology that relates ingredients to associated recipes could be extremely useful. If I could just open my refrigerator or pantry, search in the ontology for the ingredients that I have in there, and have it return possible dishes that use only what I have would change the game for me. With the Internet of Things coming closer and closer to reality for the masses, this doesn’t seem all that far-fetched.

All of this talk about food has given me quite an appetite, but at least I could complete the thought this time.

Daryl Loomis
Access Innovations

Painting the Picture

March 17, 2015  
Posted in News, Taxonomy

Anyone who has built a true, solid standards-based taxonomy knows you can go down that rabbit hole with ease never to be seen again. This isn’t to disparage taxonomies by any means, but a true taxonomy is complex and comprehensive. This interesting information came from Free Pint in their article, “From Taxonomy to Visualisation… the NewsEdge Way.”

Subject matter experts understand where I am coming from. They also would likely agree that taking a visual approach might make a taxonomy more approachable and less overwhelming. The early cave paintings depicted actual celestial events. Language has been symbolic from the beginning. This approach feeds that part of our brain that wants more than numbers and words. It feeds the dimensional parts of our vision and other senses all the while, providing valuable and usable data.

Melody K. Smith

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

Wanted: Experienced Taxonomist

March 6, 2015  
Posted in News, Taxonomy

I am sure I am not the only who has had to explain what taxonomy is when discussing what I write about or what services Access Innovations provides. “Taxidermy?” No, at least not yet.

Even if you know what taxonomies are and how they can help make your content findable, where do you find one when it is time? Heather Hedden, author of The Accidental Taxonomist, speaks to this issue in her blog post, “How to Find a Taxonomist.

It is unlikely that you can just dial up the local temp agency and find a qualified taxonomist, as the field is not well-defined and is very narrow. Another factor is how interdisciplinary and cross-functional it can and should be. Some see taxonomists as librarians and information managers; however, they are most likely highly educated and informed practitioners in a very specific field.

Professional associations and social media sites are other ways to find the taxonomist with the desired specialty your information needs to be classified and indexed properly for comprehensive and quick retrieval.

Melody K. Smith

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

Second Chance at Learning Opportunity

March 5, 2015  
Posted in indexing, News, Taxonomy

This opportunity for learning is much like a mulligan in golf. The three-part webinar series on “Practical Taxonomy Creation” by Heather Hedden, was actually held in January, but the webinars were recorded and are available for a replay purchase.

This is a great learning opportunity for indexers wanting to expand their skill set and create a wider vista for work. Where are taxonomies and controlled vocabularies needed? Periodical and database indexing and large, multi-volume back-of-the-book indexing projects use controlled vocabularies.

The need for taxonomies is especially growing in publishing, in marketing, in large corporate or government document or content management systems, image and multimedia collections, all kinds of websites, and e-commerce.

Heather Hedden is a renowned taxonomy expert, author of the book The Accidental Taxonomist, instructor of a taxonomy course, founder and past-chair of the Taxonomies & Controlled Vocabularies SIG of the American Society for Indexing, past New England chapter president, and frequent conference presenter.

Melody K. Smith

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

The White Paper is Here

March 2, 2015  
Posted in metadata, News, Taxonomy

KMWorld recently released a white paper on big data, and though it contains helpful information to tackling the challenge that comes with the data explosion, they didn’t need to run through the streets declaring its arrival.

Big data isn’t a new problem and it isn’t going away anytime soon. It is big, and complex, and will be with us forever.

The white paper, Best Practices in Analytics for Big Data, can help how you think how your organization can solve this potentially overwhelming challenge. Download it here.

Taxonomies can also help manage big data by providing a solid standards-based taxonomy to index against. The results are comprehensive and consistent search results. Access Innovations is one of a very small number of companies able to help its clients generate ANSI/ISO/W3C-compliant taxonomies because of consistency.

Melody K. Smith

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

Learning Opportunity in Taxonomies

February 27, 2015  
Posted in News, Taxonomy

We always like to pass on training and learning opportunities as they come across our desk(top). The Distributed European School of Taxonomy (DEST) offers theoretical courses for students, technicians, and early career researchers involved in the field of taxonomy. The program is open to participants from both inside and outside of Europe.

The primary objective of this program is to provide future professionals with fundamental expert knowledge in taxonomy. The training curriculum targets such topics as codes of nomenclature, identification tools and methods, describing and illustrating species, collection conservation, phylogeny, and evolutionary biology.

The focus is primarily on biology taxonomies, but the concept and theory still applies. There are several courses still available. You can learn more and register here.

Melody K. Smith

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

2015 SBR Taxonomy Published

February 27, 2015  
Posted in metadata, News, Taxonomy

The Netherlands Standard Business Reporting (SBR) Program has published the first beta version (9.0.b.1) of the 2015 SBR Taxonomy 2015. This interesting information came to us from XBRL in their release, “Netherlands 2015 SBR Taxonomy Published.

SBR is the national standard for the digital exchange of all business reports. Together with organizations from the market, such as accountants, bookkeepers, software vendors and banks, the Dutch government developed SBR.

Along with the addition of inheritance tax declarations, a highlight of the new taxonomy is a simplification of the interface for filing statistical information. The publication of the final taxonomy will be December 2, 2015 and parties have until November 14, 2015 to comment.

The SBR effort in the Netherlands is modeling a great way forward in terms of cross-agency collaboration. Policy makers and regulators should watch and learn.

Melody K. Smith

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

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