Last week, we started discussing semantic integration. We did a brief introduction and now that the basics are settled let us look at ways to enrich the user experience using Semantics (the words from our taxonomies). We have a way to improve search. It is a search option driven by taxonomies that you can play with.

We have the hierarchy on the left. We can navigate the full taxonomic tree and you can see in the screen shot. There is a term and then a number behind that term. That tells you how many records are tagged with that term in the corpus, in the data base or set of information that you have. You have all of that information available to you and you know exactly how much is in each of those branches. It is also a good way, if you are building a taxonomy, to get a feel for how many terms are over-loaded and how many really don’t have any of these terms applied to them, in which case they really are not a sensible taxonomy term.

Another way to use the taxonomy is to combine the synonyms as well as the main terms and put them in this permuted list. This is permuted, in that they wrap around. For example, sickle cell disease here would also be found as the same heading under disease and under sickle. The person wouldn’t have to know exactly what the term was that you finally decided on to put as the primary term in the taxonomy. They could just type in the term and they would have a good idea of where to search. If they click on it, then it would automatically implement the search. On the right you will notice, contextually appropriate, under Expand Your Search, we have a way to look at related terms for the search term that you chose. We also have narrower terms so that you can narrow the search and make it more specific. So, lots of ways to guide the user on the search side directly from the taxonomy itself. These were created from the term record in the full thesaurus using those relationships to leverage search.

What we have found is that it is 50% faster for people to do a search if they can use browsable categories. Chin Che Chin and Dumais have written a very nice study on how helpful it is. It is even better if you are doing a Google-type search and the results were not in the top 20 but if you entered the specific term, you’d be able to go right to it. Searchers have many
different learning styles. Therefore, they have different ways to search. But you can get them to browse in a category search and they prefer it, at least 50% of the time.

Serving lots of related content – an Association Example

Let’s look at the needs or organizations like associations to serve a great deal of content to their users on their web sites. If the taxonomy is used to tag all the content then it can be delivered through the Content Management System each time the taxonomy terms (keywords is what they are called in this application) are surfaced in a search query. The main information is delivered and the collateral information is delivered to the page at the same time giving a wonderful search experience.

If you use your taxonomy to index everything in your corpus – on your site – then when you are ready to serve it up to the users, you could link it by article (journal article), that’s pretty common or articles from within a document in repository or File Net or where you want because they would all be linked by keywords. You could also do it by activity. If people are working on an activity, you could serve that up at the same time by saying that they might also be interested in this activity that we are doing, this research, or this upcoming conference, or maybe even a job posting. If you have posted job openings on this topic and you are searching on that topic, then maybe someone would be interested in thinking about the work. You have a Podcast interview where someone is talking on the subject that a searcher just entered, that would also be of interest. Maybe there’s a grant possibility. Maybe there the other people that are working in same field and have profiled themselves with that same taxonomy term, you could serve those up as well. There are lots of ways to serve up that information.

If you look at his page, you an article found on cancer epidemiology, biomarkers, and their prevention. There is a set of keywords that are attached to this and what we can serve to them from this – this is from the American Association for Cancer Research. They might be interested in particular working groups, or awards, think tank reports, some webcasts, maybe some related book contents, and in this case, we could even take you to the book chapter that has to do with your subjects, abstracts from upcoming conferences that might be useful, some workshops and other conferences that are being held on the topic and where they are, and even press releases. So this gives you an idea if you have taken the taxonomy and you have linked the resources behind the scenes, by indexing them all using your taxonomy, then you can serve the content in a lot of different ways.

Next week we will talk about Paper Submission.

Marjorie M.K. Hlava
President, Access Innovations