Wednesday, October 19, 2005


More o'the same

Becoming the world's authority on terminology, Wikipedia's take on Thesaurus ...



Summat to think about ...

Tuesday, October 18, 2005


A nod is as good as a wink ...

For many years now, taxonomy and ontology buzzwords have been buzzing around, by many in this new information/search industry using them in a cavalier manner.

Having been fired from a job because I supposedly revealed my "ignorance" by posting a message to a government listserv (big mistake) ... inquiring what those folks believed was the definition of "taxonomy" and "ontology" and "thesaurus" ... might as well set the record straight.

Following is a posting from TaxoCoP Listserv group:

In my Corporate Taxonomy workshop which I am presenting tomorrow at Aslib in London, UK, I describe the differences like this:
a.. An Ontology is concerned only to identify and distinguish concepts and their relationships
b.. A Taxonomy formalizes the hierarchical relationships among concepts and specifies the term to be used to refer to each concept Thus:
An Ontology describes content and relationships
A Taxonomy prescribes structure and terminology
A Thesaurus:
a.. provides an initial entry-point in the users terms to the structured language (of the taxonomy) used to index documents
b.. presents the Preferred Term in context
IMHO, Classifications are essentially taxonomies where notation (a numerical or alphanumerical identifier) has been assigned to each node in order to provide a means of ordering items on retrieval, either digitally via search result sets or physically in terms of filing order (shelf order in libraries). The Dewey Decimal and Universal Decimal classifications are examples which use numerical notation. The Library of Congress Subject Headings (LCSH) are an example where alphabetic notation has been applied.
I hope this helps.
Bob Bater, Principal Associate, InfoPlex Associates, Bristol, UK

Thanks, Bob, and nyah nyah, those narrowminded folks that couldn't see the forest for the trees!


Friday, September 16, 2005


A Portal is just a hole ...

portal[1,noun]portal[2,adjective]Portalportal systemportal-to-portalportal vein
Main Entry: 1por┬Ětal Pronunciation: 'pOr-t&l, 'por-Function: nounEtymology: Middle English, from Middle French, from Medieval Latin portale city gate, porch, from neuter of portalis of a gate, from Latin porta gate -- more at PORT1 : DOOR, ENTRANCE; especially : a grand or imposing one2 : the whole architectural composition surrounding and including the doorways and porches of a church3 : the approach or entrance to a bridge or tunnel4 : a communicating part or area of an organism; specifically : the point at which something (as a pathogen) enters the body ...

Friday, September 02, 2005


The wise build on rock ...

SAVING the discussion of whether to rebuild New Orleans on a flood plain ... a gentle segue to today's topic.

Information "architecture" and how to build a solid foundation.

BUILDING a solid foundation for information to be found on a web site or portal is obvious to those of us in the Library Science discipline (indexing focus) finding ourselves involved in search and retrieval.

YOU wouldn't know whether this was even a consideration by some vendors promoting their Wizard of Awes ... Parametric indexing. Can a machine algorithm truly replace human grey matter (wetware) when it comes to categorizing data?

TAKE time to read the documentation; or optimally, take an administrators' class from the vendor so that you can discuss with IT staff what you need and how they can provide it.

AT yesterday's "Taxonomy Tuesday" brown bag lunch at the IMF (Washington) I asked one of the presenters about their taxonomy team's relationship with the IT staff. Roles in the process were established at the beginning of the project, and the IT staff were brought in as stakeholders from the get-go. Such strategy insures cooperation and collaboration and understanding between the intellectual and the technical.

SOME of us are doing both; we have our work cut out for us.


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