Continuing with our series on semantic integration, let’s discuss Authors.

You can take a list of authors by place. Identifying marks or spots represent clusters of people who have published on a particular topical area. You take the author, their subject profile, and then attach to their address, the latitude and longitude of that address, and you can put them on a map.     

These kinds of match-ups are pretty cool. 

This one is a match-up using Google Earth. We’ve taken a bunch of, in this case, cancer research institutes, their addresses and because they have to do with cancer and because they have their place name attached to a latitude and longitude, we can do this graphical display of where they are located.  So, then you will know if there is someone nearby you who might be doing this kind of work.

Displaying Authors and institutes on a map based on taxonomy


This one is using a little free program called Spicy Nodes. It doesn’t work for large purposes but it is really fun for small ones. This shows a term and the terms that are the next level down. This is based on the broader-narrower term relationships. There is a top term, AACR. These are the major topical areas and medicine is one of those topical areas.  These are the terms below medicine. You see first level, second level – including this one, and then third level terms.  A fun way to display your taxonomy and, if I could do a live moving screen through the connections to show the different connections changing as you get closer and further from a term. You could see the arrows move and bounce.  It is a very fun thing to do but it also shows connections in a way that you don’t normally see them in a flat navigation list.

Another way to use taxonomies is for an Expert Reviewers list. When you are looking for people to work on a project or review a it is hard to find people who have the expertise to actually review a piece of work. Same thing as if you were trying to decide if you should start a new project or have someone review a piece of research to see if it is valid – or not. How do you find people who have expertise to give you any kind of advice on that? If it is paper-based, it is not so easy to use but if you changed it into a dynamic taxonomy, then the reviewers could be found from the member profiles and put those who were willing to do reviews, it would supply you with a quick way to give you a list of experts to review those articles.

Following along in that vein, you can also use it as a way to do member profiles so you can find people of like interest. Who else within SLA is interested in doing taxonomies? Should we do a survey and then canvass those who might be interested in joining us? If  people have input information about themselves and the kinds of things that they have worked on, then they could automatically suggest from the controlled vocabulary what might of interest to them. (Actually, for SLA, I have created a taxonomy, which currently is not in use but was in use for a while on the website and I think it helped search a lot for that period of time.)

Here’s another example.  This one is a fairly new system called XPeerient. XPeerient is a new company that is matching up technology sellers with technology buyers. What happens is that someone has a bit of information about hardware, software, or service and they upload it to XPeerient  in an online template and then they click a button to auto-suggest the taxonomy attributes. The attributes that match this profile come up into the listing of terms – on the right – and you click the ones that you think are appropriate. Then, the system matches the profiles so that if someone is looking to buy software and some is looking to sell, they can match the profiles and find each other more easily. Like a dating service for hardware and software findings.

Next week we will talk about Data Visualization.

Marjorie M.K. Hlava
President, Access Innovations