The 12th annual Data Harmony Users Group (DHUG) has come and gone. Twenty-five attendees joined the Access Innovations staff last week to hear case studies presented by users and presentations by Access Innovations and Data Harmony staff.

The agenda was well planned with diverse approaches to managing data and being responsive to the unique needs of each organization. Diversity was not just evident in the approaches to taxonomies and thesauri, but in the subject matter, which meant there was something of interest for everyone – even this foodie.


Being my third DHUG conference, I observed an overarching theme, unintentional or not, and that was community. The presenters didn’t talk for 20-30 minutes to laud their accomplishments or shine a light on their credentials; they shared their personal experiences, challenges, successes, the nitty and the gritty. They did this to help, to learn, to build one another up and help to set a path of successful “data harmony” for everyone.

The Access Innovations staff studiously recorded each presenter, so keep watch for clips to be available soon here on TaxoDiary as well as the Access Innovations website. In the interim, I’d like to highlight a few of the topics and presenters.

Arthur Buchberg from the American Association of Cancer Research (AACR) came with a unique perspective as evidenced by the title of his presentation: The AACR Thesaurus Renaissance. Buchberg considers the 2013 rebirth of the AACR thesaurus a success because of a strong subject matter expert (SME) recruitment effort. Hearing the term SME (used as a word) at his last DHUG conference, Buchberg was inspired to utilize their expertise when breathing new life into the AACR thesaurus.

SMEs have trained for many years in increasing specificity of expertise. They know their areas very well. They see the field from only their perspective. When doing a taxonomy review, it is important to treat their input with care and respect. They understand the nuances because it took them many years to learn them. SMEs are an incredible resource and of course represent a considerable slice of the expected usership of the thesaurus.

Each client has their own unique circumstances and needs. The best example of that was with Jane Hiebert-White from Health Affairs. Sharing their case study, Hiebert-White discussed the aspects of SMEs when evaluating a thesaurus based in the health policy domain, where there are many experts.

A key goal for Health Affairs in implementing their thesaurus was not just to have comprehensive access to journals but also their blog, policy briefs and multi-media content. Recognizing that relevant content comes in many different forms, this served as one of the challenges that required a creative approach to a resolution.

The American Society for Civil Engineers (ASCE) actually had two presentations at this year’s DHUG. Xi Van Fleet shared their unique, creative, and challenging approach to making a taxonomy work for different tagging purposes. Because ASCE represents more than 150,000 members of the civil engineering profession in 177 countries, the nation’s oldest engineering society were true to their profession and created a new taxonomy using existing resources.

ASCE has been developing their thesaurus for over six years now and Charlotte McNaughton spoke to the journey in her presentation: It’s a Rough Road to Taxonomy Implemention, but…Progress!. Author profiles and search interfaces were just two milestones that allowed McNaughton to celebrate progress.

Clients weren’t the only ones celebrating milestones. The Access Innovations staff shared some progress of their own in the launch of a few new features. The one I want to highlight here is “No Bogus Submissions or No B.S.” Algorithmically generated scientific (using that term loosely) papers continue to be a problem for scientific, technical and medical (STM) publishers.

SciGen is a computer program that uses a context free production grammar to write computer science research papers that include graphs, diagrams and citations. For over a decade publishers have been accepting and publishing papers that are completely without merit because they are not produced by a human. Instead a computer algorithm produces papers that are hard to detect and fly under the radar with ease.

Access Innovations are fighting algorithms with algorithms. They have created a powerful tool that looks at the language used in a publisher’s entire corpus and can tell whether a journal contains of any of these bogus papers. After testing with different approaches, it certainly begs to question whether detection systems should be integrated into the publishing production flow? And if the answer is yes, Access Innovations offers No B.S.

Even though #DHUG2016 is in the books, there is still much to be learned. Watch for the videos to hear from all the presenters and their experiences with Data Harmony products.

Melody K. Smith
TaxoDiary and ICD Tagger writer and wrangler
Access Innovations, Inc.