Information organization

UK Government & Metadata

Quick article on UK Government's use of metadata and thesaurus to support information management and organization.

"Keeping an eye on metadata" by Glyn Moody, August 8, 2002 from CW360.

The Age of Information Architecture

In a new issue of Digital Web Magazine and a brand new column entitled IAnything Goes, Jeff Lash takes an in-depth look at just what is the big deal with IA: what it is, why it's needed, who should do it, and how it came about. The Age of Information Architecture. Also in this issue David Wertheimer writes about going Beyond the IA Guy: Defining information architecture in his Wide Open column.

IA, usability, controlled vocabularies, findability and more.

Digital Web Magazine interviews Jeffrey Veen and Jesse James Garrett of Adaptive Path and Christina Wodtke writes about using controlled vocabularies to improve findability in Mind your phraseology!

OWL Web Ontology Language Working Drafts Published

From W3C news releases:

    The Web Ontology Working Group has released three first Working Drafts. The Feature Synopsis, Abstract Syntax and Language Reference describe the OWL Web Ontology Language 1.0 and its subset OWL Lite. Automated tools can use common sets of terms called ontologies to power services such as more accurate Web search, intelligent software agents, and knowledge management. OWL is used to publish and share ontologies on the Web. Read about the W3C Semantic Web Activity.
Facet analytical theory (FAT)

From SIGCR-L (last one before I leave):

A new research project at University College London (U.K.) - 'Facet Analytical Theory for Knowledge Structure in Humanities'

Facet analytical theory (FAT) is a novel method of indexing which deals with individual simple terms. It builds up a map of subjects "bottom-up" by clustering terms in a systematic way, rather than as a linear sequence. This research project will investigate the potential role of FAT in the development of the knowledge structure of multi-dimensional networks of subject terms for use with digital collections.

The project goal is to explore the use of a faceted vocabulary in a
joint humanities portal between two U.K. humanities gateways: AHDS and Humbul.

The source for building this vocabulary will be classifications such as BC2, BSO and UDC, and thesauri (e.g. AAT, HASSET etc.). The vocabulary will be maintained as a standalone authority file with entirely machine processable data and will be integrated into the portal architecture. It will support both browsing and retrieval across heterogeneous AHDS and Humbul resources.


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.


Look Before You Ask by David Wertheimer talks search on Digital Web Magazine:

    "Let search remain to maximize your site's usability, but tone down its presentation just enough to encourage a click or two. The goal is not to eliminate search as an option, but to expose the audience to an alternate, and possibly superior, mode of site navigation."
Ontologies come of age

[Note to self] Read Deborah L. McGuinness' Ontologies Come of Age, which Victor pointed to this week.

Improving Usability with a Website Index

The librarian (can I say that?) in me is pleased with Fred Liese's article in B&A on using indexes (the alphanumeric kind) on websites.

Proving Ground for Taxonomy & Information Architecture

Delphi Group is offering this seminar on taxonomy and IA. Not sure if this if of interest to anyone or even if it's worth attending a seminar offered by a market research company, but it may interest your clients, perhaps, if you are selling them on taxonomies.

Presenters include Carl Frappaolo and Mark Tucker, who have both written in the popular business media.

Quick and Dirty Topic Mapping with Perl

I'm just bookmarking this article for later reading. Jon Udell's script proposes a way of generating topic maps by parsing text files. Not sure what this does exactly, but the title was intriguing.

The TAO of Topic Maps

Steve Pepper has written a succinct introduction to topic maps, titled The TAO of Topic Maps.

I read this today (17 July) on the subway to MacWorld and feel very excited about topic maps now. Pepper's article presents a view of topic maps and their implications at high enough of a level to communicate the advantages of Topic Maps and with enough theory to make it possible to think about applications using Topic Maps with your existing data sets. Now I have to spend some time reading about XTM on the site to get my head around what one can do and see what people have been doing already.

Thanks, Column Two: KM/CM blog

Swanson's Undiscovered Public Knowledge

Spurred by the Bates article, Eric adds Bradford's Law to the list of Statistical Laws he's cataloging on the Wiki. Digging deeper into the online literature, he finds a jewel in Don Swanson's (Chicago Library School) notion of undiscovered public knowledge. The idea is that there are links implicit among disparate fields and their associated published literatures, but which cannot be easily connected with reverse citation indexing without some analysis. These clusters of related bodies of knowledge that go undiscovered in the separate bodies of information are what he calls "undiscovered bodies of knowledge". Really fascinating and implications of discovering these bodies of knowledge are great. Reminded me of the movie Lorenzo's oil.

After the Dot Bomb: Getting Information Retrieval Right

Lou is pointing to and discussing Marcia Bates' excellent article in First Monday. This is an excellent article for anyone involved in web development. I have often harped on this blog on the issue of looking at the library and information science literature, particularly when it comes to information retrieval and classification issues (being that I'm a librarian, that should come as no surprise). There is already so much experience and knowledge in the IR field that exists that can be leveraged for information systems design on the web, but it is largely ignored by people who aren't aware of it.

Anyway, this is an excellent article, one of the most valuable articles I've read this year. Go read it if you care about how information and how it's used. There is some useful discussion about classification and facetted versus hierarchical classification, an interesting perspective on the present day use and understanding of the term ontology, and most importantly, a discussion of the business issues to consider regarding cost of maintaining systems requiring some form of classification system.

ASIS&T Bulletin June/July 2002

In the June/July Bulletin, Andrew Dillon reports on the IA Summit and a few articles discuss the issue of Vocabulary Control and Design on the Web.

Faceted classification of information

Knowledge Management Connection summarizes/defines faceted classification for the KM crowd.

Given the significant difficulties in categorizing books, papers, and articles using traditional library classification techniques, it would seem next to impossible for humans to classify the small chunks of rapidly changing information that characterize information-intensive business environments. But itís not. Library and information science professionals have already provided the foundations of an alternative to traditional classification techniques: faceted classification.

Thanks, Jeffrey Veen

mc.clintock maps contents of house

Christina pointed to mc.clintock, which has mapped the contents of a house using floor plans to navigate by room and showing photos and illustrations of furniture. Clicking on furniture allows you to navigate to screens showing the contents of that furniture. Wow, what an incredible inventory of stuff! I would have liked if the floor plans labeled at least some of the rooms (study, bedroom), though. It's hard to tell from the initial page what's what until you cursor over a region. Here's an example from a series of floor plans I did of my house using OmniGraffle. I don't think I'll inventory any of my house's contents though.

Marti Hearst on Information Visualization

Peterme interviews Marti Hearst, professor in the School of Information Management Systems at UC Berkeley, on the topic of Information Visualization. They discuss the success and future of the field pointing out specific examples of applications that have and have not worked and why.

Business Taxonomy

Harvard Business School and Stanford Graduate School of Business are in the process of developing a business taxonomy to describe business management education.

Mentioned in, "E-learning alliance bears fruit"

"The two schools have developed a taxonomy to catalogue and map the types of material that the schools have developed. The two libraries and information technology groups were instrumental in this. "We're sharing 100 per cent of the learning and the process knowledge," says Mr Fogel."

Could bad IA get you arrested?

The Intranet Focus Blog is, from what I understand, the only public blog dealing specifically with intranet issues. A recent post entitled Enron — The Intranet Implications talks about how, with all this talk lately of document retention policies and email backups, little attention is paid to how documents are stored, accessed, and kept on intranets.

The entry brings up a good point, but unfortunately leaves the issue of intranet IA hanging a bit:

“In many industries government officials and industry regulators have the authority to enter the premises of a company to look for evidence of malpractice. That would include the intranet. ... if the information archtecture of your intranet is so bad that the investigators feel that they are being impeded in their work you might end up on the end of an obstruction of justice charge.”

Could bad IA really call for charges to be filed? I seriously doubt that the IA would/could be that bad, and a bad information architecture on an intranet would most likely go along with a system of organizing files and documents throughout the company, not just on the intranet. Still, it's an interesting idea, and another reason that it may be worthwhile to pay attention to IA.

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