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Metadata based on standards such as Dublin Core are a key component of information environments from scientific repositories to corporate intranets and from business and publishing to education and e-government.
DC-2005 to be held in Madrid at University Carlos III (September 2005, 12-15) will examine the practicalities of maintaining and using controlled sets of terms ("vocabularies") in the context of the Web.
DC-2005 aims at bringing together several distinct communities of vocabulary users:
* Users of metadata standards such as Dublin Core and Learning Object Metadata (LOM), with their sets of descriptive "elements" and "properties"
* The W3C Semantic Web Activity, which has formalized the notion of "ontologies"
* Users of Knowledge Organization Systems, which encompass value-space structures such as "thesauri" and "subject classifications"
* The world of corporate intranets, which use "taxonomies"
These diverse communities share common problems, from the the use of identifiers for terms to practices for developing, maintaining, versioning, translating, and adapting standard vocabularies for specific local needs.
Then, let's discuss about in DC-2005 Conference
Technorati engages in a bit of folksonomy with it's newly-launched tags.
Bloggers can place a link to the tags page, and Technorati will include it in its count.
An interesting (though week-old) discussion going on over at OK/Cancel regarding searching vs. sorting vs. browsing.
A while ago on the aifia-members list, Gene Smith asked about social classification generated by the informal user tagging in Flickr, del.icio.us, etc. In his reply on the list, Thomas coined the term folksonomy to describe these informal classifications, and Gene’s folksonomy blog post sparked a lot of conversation around the community.
One thing that really strikes me about social classification is that it’s user-centered bottom up classification. Most bottom up classification is document or collection centric. Social classification provides insight not just into content, but into users and context as well.
This article by CW Holsapple and KD Joshi describes an ontology for knowledge management. The abstract below is taken from the JASIST TOC for Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology V55, 7, MAY, 2004, p593-612.
This article describes a collaboratively engineered general-purpose knowledge management (KM) ontology that can be used by practitioners, researchers, and educators. The ontology is formally characterized in terms of nearly one hundred definitions and axioms that evolved from a Delphi-like process involving a diverse panel of over 30 KM practitioners and researchers. The ontology identifies and relates knowledge manipulation activities that an entity (e.g., an organization) can perform to operate on knowledge resources. It introduces a taxonomy for these resources, which indicates classes of knowledge that may be stored, embedded, and/or represented in an entity. It recognizes factors that influence the conduct of KM both within and across KM episodes. The Delphi panelists judge the ontology favorably overall: its ability to unify KM concepts, its comprehensiveness, and utility. Moreover, various implications of the ontology for the KM field are examined as indicators of its utility for practitioners, educators, and researchers.
The Fast, Leise, Steckel trio publish part four of their Boxes and Arrows series on Controlled Vocabularies. This latest installment is a glossary of terms used in controlled vocabularies. Appropriately enough, the glossary was created as a thesaurus.
Great article in NYTimes(free registrated required) related to information retrieval, categorization/classification, and use.
Marti Hearst is quoted regarding information vizualization, text mining, and such. Most of the focus was on retrieval in homogenous content such as Medline. The reason why I liked the article was it provides an example of how people/business benefit from better IR tools for such disciplines as medicine.
Edward T. O'Neill and Lois Mai Chan presented at World Library and Information Congress: 69th IFLA General Conference and Council 1-9 August 2003, Berlin, FAST (Faceted Application of Subject Terminology): a simplified LCSH-based vocabulary -- scroll to find the presentation translated in English, French, German and Russian under heading 126. Classification and Indexing or download the PDF directly.
The Library of Congress Subject Headings (LCSH) schema is by far the most commonly used and widely accepted subject vocabulary for general application. It is the de facto universal controlled vocabulary and has been a model for developing new subject heading systems around the world. However, LCSH’s complex syntax and rules for constructing headings restrict its application by requiring highly skilled personnel and limit the effectiveness of automated authority control. Recent trends, driven to a large extent by the rapid growth of the Web, are forcing changes in bibliographic control systems to make them easier to use, understand, and apply, and subject headings are no exception. The purpose of adapting the LCSH in a faceted schema with a simplified syntax is to retain the very rich vocabulary of LCSH while making it easier to understand, control, apply, and use. The FAST schema maintains upward compatibility with LCSH, and any valid set of LC subject headings can be converted to FAST headings. FAST consists of eight distinct facets. Authority records have been created for all established headings except for the chronological facet. The initial version of the FAST authority file will contain approximately two million authority records.
The Visual Resources Association has recently published the Cataloguing Cultural Objects (CCO) in the hopes of developing guidelines or standards for describing and retrieving information about cultural works.
A good overview of the current state of the art in combining taxonomies and search from Jeff Morris in Transform magazine. Combining taxonomy and classification with search gives people a map of the resources available to them. This kind of taxonomy, classification and search combination is becoming essential for the major search vendors. [thanks Infodesign]
Synonym Rings and Authority Files - In part 3 of the continuing series on controlled vocabularies and faceted classification, the CV tagteam champs Karl Fast, Mike Steckel, and Fred Leise explain synonym rings and authority files and how their use can bridge the gap between natural language and complex controlled vocabularies (taxonomies and thesauri). The techniques presented, unlike the complications of full faceted schemes or ontologies, are accessible and feasible for a wide variety of projects. Worth checking out if you're wanting to implement a lightweight approach to vocabulary control. [Boxes and Arrows]
Article in New Scientist reporting that Software can investigate suspicious deaths.
I'm particularly interested in seeing how IA subjects like this are presented to a wider audience of non-IA specialists. I wonder if a 2 page summary dumbs things down too much, or if it offers a way for interested readers to be introduced to a subject and find resources to learn more.
Since I blogged the Gassie presentation earlier, I thought I should mention one of the applications she chose for the digital project. Scout Portal Toolkit is an open source (requires PHP and MySQL) application that allows an organization to maintain a library of resources via a web site. The application with the following features: configurable metadata tool with a field set based on Dublin Core; vocabulary control; fielded searching (in advanced search); user annotation; email alerting and the ability save search strategies; and a recommender system. I was impressed with the demo, so I installed on my system and have been evaluating it for the past week. Last year I suggested to some Drupal friends that I would like to develop a libary-type module for that application that would use the DC metadata elements. Of course, life being what it is, I never got to that. I may forgo coding something for myself in favor of just using SPT because it seems pretty robust.
Lillian Woon Gassie and Greta E. Marlatt's case study presentation at the SLA 2003 conference provided a thorough examination of the process undertaken to build a digital library for the Homeland Security program of the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, CA. The presentation gave a good idea of the steps leading to the development of the digital library, which will eventually be partially available to the public, but will mainly serve students in the School and other military and civilian people involved in Homeland Security. The presentation touches on goals and rationale for the project, audience and personas, political and monetary constraints, metadata and classification strategies, technical specifications and and analysis of tools and technologies evaluated and selected for the project.
Lillian has posted afew other presentations that may be of interest as well to information architects. As usual, you won't get all the details communicated in a PowerPoint presentation, but when reading the "Digital from Birth" PPT, be sure to look at the very extensive speaking notes that go with each slide.
Digital from Birth: Information Architecture for Building a Digital Library,
presentation with Greta E. Marlatt at the SLA Annual Conference, New York City, June 9, 2003.
Online Presentation | Download PPT file (2.8 MB)
Taxonomies for Communities of Practice,
presentation at the e-Gov Knowledge Management Conference, Washington, D.C., April 16, 2003.
Metadata Tools, Practices and Ontologies,
presentation at the Monterey Bay Area Workshop on Data Management & Visualization, MBARI, Monterey, April 7, 2003.
CIO article "Sleuthing out data" by Fred Hapgood features a couple examples of how auto-semiauto categorization enables businesses and reduce costs. There is a company list included if you're interested in this arena.
If you happen to have a Montague Institute membership, you might want to check out this article (full text with screenshots only available to members) discussing how to get a diverse team of professionals thinking about taxonomies. The full article features some excellent examples from their learning lab that show how taxonomies can be utilized in enterprise applications, e.g. email, contacts, document management, taxonomy management. Their taxonomy administration UI and user-facing UI are excellent examples. If you attend one of their sessions, apparently, you get to work with the apps in the learning lab.