Faceted classification

Metadata? Thesauri? Taxonomies? Topic Maps! - Making Sense of It All

Lars Garshol, Development Manager at Ontopia posted a fantastic article on the relationships between different classification tools - topic maps, ontologies, taxonomies, and more. Well worth the read, since it's a clear explanation that separates similar concepts that too often get muddled.

How to Make a Faceted Classification and Put It On the Web

William Denton has released a well written paper on faceted classification for the web, created for the Faculty of Information Studies at the University of Toronto. Here's a bit about what you might expect to learn:

This paper will attempt to bridge the gap by giving procedures and advice on all the steps involved in making a faceted classification and putting it on the web. Web people will benefit by having a rigorous seven-step process to follow for creating faceted classifications, and librarians will benefit by understanding how to store such a classification on a computer and make it available on the web. The paper is meant for both webmasters and information architects who do not know a lot about library and information science, and librarians who do not know a lot about building databases and web sites. The classifications are meant for small or medium-sized sets of things, meant to go on public or private web sites, when there is a need to organize items for which no existing classification will do.

Putting Facets on the Web: An Annotated Bibliography

William Denton's annotated bibliography covers the design faceted classification systems for the World Wide Web.

Keyword extraction and facet analysis for email archives

Kathryn La Barre and Chris Dent have been experimenting with computational methods for creating a faceted access structure of the Unrev-II mailing list archives.

The email archive of the unrev-ii list is the basis for this ongoing project, to build an access tool for an email archive that also functions as a knowledge repository. Methods utilized in future iterations of the project will include traditional semantic analysis, clustering algorithms, and facet analysis.
They have a preliminary prototype available, and have published a paper.

Chris' project page and Kathryn's project page offer more detail about the project and their hopes for their work. (thanks Bootstrap Alliance)

Data visualization through facets

Pointed out by Steve Mulder on SIGIA: Iokio has a demo of a product selection tool that uses different facets to choose a digital camera. Sliders allow the user to adjust cost, weight, and resolution with real time feedback on available models. Thanks to Joe, who discovered a direct link to their Camera Finder Demo.

Why you need your very own taxonomy.

Tom Smith has a great introductory article on Why You Need Your Own Taxonomy. Useful for explaining taxonomies and facets to management or clients.

Introduction to XFML

Peter published an article on XML.com that describes what XFML is and how to use it. Nice work, Peter.

BC Vickery up for grabs

I Found a facsimile of Brian Campbell Vickery's Faceted Classification Schemes on Alibris. It would be truly excellent if someone could get the Vickery books (or excerpts of them) to be repro'd at a place that delivers. I just ordered a loan of this one from my corporate library.

Faceted search

This page on Search Tools attempts to summarize how facets might be used in search.

Diving more deeply into facets

How do you say faceted classification in Italiano? Classificazione/indicizzazione a faccette. One of the small facts I've culled out of the faceted classfication list.

Discussion is heating up a little and Kathry La Barre is dropping science on us. The great advantage in having PhDs and doctoral students discussing on the list is that a thorough understanding of the facet analysis and classification literature can inform practice. Already there is a great need to really define and understand what facet analysis is, what facet classification is, how they are done, etc. This is one case where I think it is necessary to be pedantic because I fear that misunderstanding of the terms may result in incompletely executed implementations that call themselves faceted classification systems. Before we start to throw these terms around liberally in meetings with decision makers, we should be sure we know what we are talking about and be able to answer the most basic as well as the more difficult questions about what facet analysis and classification is and how it will positively effect the user experience.

As someone who thought himself to have a very fundamental understanding of these concepts, the discussion of facet analysis and classification in the past year has done more to confuse these concepts than to clarify them in my opinion, and for that reason, I am glad that this new list was created. There seems to be a great desire to get the outcome of facet analysis -- the browsable faceted interface like Flamenco, but there hasn't been a lot of discussion about how the method of facet analysis takes place. The terms have not even been defined clearly enough in my opinion. I have heard them defined and discussed well in presentations, but we need the terms and the methodologies to approach facet analysis better summarized in accessible articles that can help practicing IAs.

New mailing list for faceted classification

Peter Van Dijk (Poor But Happy) and Phil Murray (Knowledge Management Connection) are starting a discussion group on faceted classification.

All About Facets & Controlled Vocabularies

Karl Fast, Fred Leise and Mike Steckel have started a series of articles on Boxes and Arrows to make facetted classification and controlled vocabularies accessible to practicing IA's without LIS backgrounds. Look forward to it.

This is XFML

Mark Pilgrim dives into XFML, with a nice description of how XFML can be used to describe content from different points of view, like looking into the center of a gemstone from each of its multiple faces (facets). As with the concept of topic maps, this example illustrates how description can be done post content publishing when you use a format like XFML. This is the power of what Peter V's created, coupled with the facetmap tool. The descriptions and relationships of content can be overlayed on top of the content. Nice description and example using facetmap.

International Children's Digital Library: Facet browsing ZUI

Peter V. pointed to the IDCL browser, a Java application that offers an interface for browsing an ebook catalog. What's unique about the catalog is that it offers a type of zoomable interface for browing categories such as About (Subject), Genre, Setting, Characters, etc. Clicking one facet drills you deeper into that facet tree, that is to say, reveals the sub-facets/categories and/or reveals the items within that node in a tiny thumbnail results window at top that you can expand to review hits. Each term you pick -- terms are the end-points, the buttons that don't have further sub-division -- is added to your collection (on top of the worm graphic) to show that you've combined terms in your search. You can click on one of the terms in that area to remove it from your search. The results window shows how your search terms have narrowed your results.

You have to have the Java Virtual Machine plug in installed to use this application. To start browsing by facet, click "Find books in category".

FacetMap of iaslash

Seems FacetMap works now with links to XML feeds rather than uploaded files. Updated iaslash FacetMap is up. Guess I should clean up and index some of those earlier blog entries. Maybe.

Endeca

This has been mentioned on peterme, but not here, so I thought I'd say a little something about it.

I got a card in the mail yesterday extolling the benefits of Endeca and their “Guided Navigation (SM).” Sounded like another company coming up with a proprietary term for a common technique. And, well, basically, it is.

“Guided Navigation (SM)” is faceted classification. They clean it up a bit, expose the facets in an intelligent way, and have an integrated search, but don't let their service marked slogan make you think they've invented something new.

What they do have, however, is probably the best explanation of faceted classification I've seen, and since many have mentioned the need for a simple FC example/tutorial (CrocoLyle, Parallax), I thought it was relevant. If you already understand FC and can explain it well to others, well, this is probably old news to you.

Their Flash demo with narration (also available without narration) is an easy-to-understand description of FC, applicable for developers, IAs, and business people, and it'd probably even pass the mom test too. (It's also a great example of a good use of Flash.)

I'll probably use the demo because it explains faceted classification at a high level better than I can, but I'll make sure to mention that the idea certainly is not proprietary, and there are other technologies and systems (i.e. FacetMap, Flamenco) that can do the same thing.

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