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Re: [TaxoCoP] Taxonomy Term question

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  • John O'Gorman
    Hey Grant, thanks for the clarification on your objectives and your motivation. Much better sense of where you are headed and why. Patrick is correct: we had a
    Message 1 of 10 , May 28 10:10 AM
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      Hey Grant, thanks for the clarification on your objectives and your motivation. Much better sense of where you are headed and why.
      Patrick is correct: we had a running disagreement about the existence of an upper-level ontology that accommodates (identifies, classifies and presents) any piece of information. I can't speak for others, but my heretic status is partly in my own head, I suppose due in large part to the following statements:
      Any faceted classification exercise can start and end with a fixed and fairly small (19) number of facets. Intersection (usually via concatenation or agglutenation) of terms from two or more facets is the only technique allowed to create "sub-sets" of information (i.e. more specific references).
      Unlike some of the other taxonomists I have met, I believe that classification in the digital realm can be easy, inexpensive and like all taxonomies (faceted or otherwise) very effective.
      Note in my statements that I didn't use the word 'possibility'...it is being done. Patrick just hasn't seen the light, yet.
      John O'
      -----Original Message-----
      From: Grant Slade [mailto:grant.slade.professional@...]
      Sent: Thursday, May 27, 2010 01:29 PM
      To: TaxoCoP@yahoogroups.com
      Subject: Re: [TaxoCoP] Taxonomy Term question


      Hi all, thanks so much for the comments. To answer some of the questions:

      Are you doing concept indexing or whole document indexing?
      We are doing concept indexing. We do in fact have a separate branch covering legislative and regulatory concepts. That could be an option to just include it as a seperate branch, but I would be worried that they might have to navigate through too much to get to Codes and Ordinances. However, maybe there is a way of dealing with that that I'm not thinking of.

      Can you say a little more about how the taxonomy is used by end users?
      We are going to be distributing a DVD at a conference with a database of Water Conservation related literature. Normally we just put the database into Folio and that's it, but it is not very intuitive.  So, I was toying with trying to create a browsable interface (on a side note, has anyone worked with Greenstone that would be willing to answer a couple of questions?). The discussion with the SME just kind of added fuel to the fire in trying to get this done. Our taxonomy in general has historically not been well embraced by our company, but it recently became one of our top priorities. We actually have multiple systems, each with different ways of classifying information and we finally reached the breaking point to do something about it. I think our customers reached their breaking point years ago.

      To clarify, you discuss a taxonomy and a thesaurus, and, from the context, it sounds as if you are using the taxonomy for navigation and the thesaurus as a source of terms. Is that correct?
      That is pretty much it, although actually using the taxonomy for navigation would be something we haven't really done before, so currently we are really just *intending* to use the taxonomy for navigation.

      Ahren, I think that you summed up what I was trying to get at, that the categorization principles on the back end may not mesh with the navigational requirements elsewhere. I guess I was wondering if there is a standard way of recording that in the taxonomy that allows the navigation to be automated.  Maybe a best practice.  What I am hearing is that facets might be my best option, but also could be a huge undertaking. 

      One last question - do you refer to yourselves as heretics because facets are frowned upon? :-)

      Thanks again!

      On Thu, May 27, 2010 at 10:25 AM, Patrick Lambe <plambe@straitsknowl edge.com> wrote:

      Facets will do what you need to achieve if instead of navigation drill-downs you think of progressive filtering drill-downs - ie you get to water conservation in a functions/activitie s facet and then use a eg document types facet to filter by codes and ordinances.

      But there is of course the question of whether re-engineering your taxonomy to build a whole new set of facets is an overly magnificent response to a small problem... so a polyhierarchy within your thesaurus might be less intrusive until you really need to rebuild the taxonomy wholesale, when facets would clearly be the best way to go.

      I have a literal metaphor in mind, I only wanted to convert a small study room into a bathroom/toilet, and ended up committing to a whole new extension on the house... the argument being that for the plumbing work entailed, it made more sense to do this, and then that, and before I knew it a small but important change became a major project.

      I only say this because while facets are incredibly flexible for just this kind of need, building a faceted system from scratch is a major undertaking and you need to know what you're getting into.

      Kathleen's compromise might be a good one.


      Patrick Lambe

      website: www.straitsknowledg e.com

      Have you seen our KM Method Cards or
      Organisation Culture Cards?  

      On May 26, 2010, at 11:48 PM, Grant Slade wrote:

      Hello everyone.  Recently we were working to enhance a section of our taxonomy related to Water Conservation and we brought in a subject matter professional to help us out.  We came across several issues like the following:

      In our thesaurus we have the following terms:
      Water Conservation
      --- Commercial Water Conservation
      --- Industrial Water Conservation

      She wanted to add "Codes and Ordinances" under both Commercial and Industrial water conservation, so ...

      Water Conservation
      --- Commercial Water Conservation
      -------- Codes and Ordinances
      --- Industrial Water Conservation
      -------- Codes and Ordinances

      I felt that Codes and Ordinances could apply to many other topics and should probably actually be in our government section, then related to Commercial and Industrial water conservation.  I guess my question is how you handle relationships like this when you begin thinking about Navigation.  The SME was tackling it from how she would want to drill down to those topics, so she would be able to browse 

      Water Conservation --> Commercial Water Conservation --> Codes and Ordinances

      Is there a way I should be recording this in the taxonomy that will leave us prepared for the kind of navigation she would like to see?



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