The Gilbane Advisor

Curated content for content, computing, and digital experience professionsals

Tag: taxonomy

Gilbane Advisor 2-11-20 — future fingers, collaboration, taxonomy, adtech

Mapping workplace collaboration startups

Merci Victoria Grace provides a very useful breakdown of the current workplace collaboration space. As an investor her interest is in opportunities, but her insights also inform enterprise strategists and buyers considering not just products, but use cases. Read More

workplace collaboration startups
Workplace Collaboration Market Map by Merci Victoria Grace

Apple’s ‘Finger Devices’: wearable computing’s next big thing?

CB Insights reports on a new patent application from Apple. While “next big thing” is bit over-enthusiastic, they are right that it has potential as a core component of Apple’s coming wearable computing ecosystem.

While other patents have explored the use of fingers and virtual interfaces and feedback systems, this patent appears the first to contemplate the finger as the seat of a full-fledged computing device — containing a full battery of sensors, input and output systems, and the capacity to interact with other devices in different categories. Read More

Lumping and Splitting in Taxonomy

Taxonomies are often avoided because they are complex and require nurturing. Michael Andrews on why they are a necessary information technology…

Classification is the bedrock of algorithms: they drive automated decisions. Yet taxonomies are human designed. Taxonomies lack the superficial impartiality of machine-oriented linked data or machine learning classification. But taxonomies are useful because of their perceived limitations. They require human attention and human judgment. That helps make data more explainable. Read More

As Google Chrome crumbles the third-party cookie, what’s next for adtech?

Aside from the obvious boost for first-party data – where the legit value has always been – there are a number of questions on how and when this will all play out. The Drum collects some thoughts from adtec insiders. Read More



The Gilbane Advisor curates content for content, computing, and digital experience professionals. We focus on strategic technologies. We publish more or less twice a month except for August and December. We do not sell or share personal data

CompSci’s XBRL Taxonomy Search Tool Now Available to the Public

CompSci Resources, LLC, a leading provider of XBRL software and services, reported that it is making available to the public its XBRL taxonomy search tool to assist issuers and mutual funds generate their XBRL submissions to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. This free tool allows public companies and mutual funds to search for any concept within a selected taxonomy and display all applicable information associated for a selected concept. CompSci’s XBRL taxonomy search tool works with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s U.S. GAAP and Mutual Fund Risk/Return Taxonomies.

Taxonomy and Enterprise Search

This blog entry on the “Taxonomy Watch” website prompts me to correct the impression that I believe naysayers who say that taxonomies take too much time and effort to be valuable. Nothing could be further from the truth. I believe in and have always been highly vested in taxonomies because I am convinced that an investment in pre-processing enterprise generated content into meaningfully organized results brings large returns in time savings for a searcher. S/he, otherwise, needs to invest personally in the laborious post-processing activity of sifting and rejecting piles of non-relevant content. Consider that categorizing content well and only once brings benefit repeatedly to all who search an enterprise corpus.

Prime assets of enterprises are people and their knowledge; the resulting captured information can be leveraged as knowledge assets (KA). However, there is a serious problem “herding” KA into a form that results in leveragable knowledge. Bringing content into a focus that is meaningful to a diverse but specialized audience of users, even within a limited company domain is tough because the language of the content is so messy.

So, what does this have to do with taxonomies and enterprise search, and how they factor into leveraging KA? Taxonomies have a role as a device to promote and secure the meaningful retrievability of content when we need it most or fastest, just-in-time retrieval. If no taxonomies exist to pre-collocate and contextualize content for an audience, we will be perpetually stuck in a mode of having to do individual human filtering of excessive search results that come from “keyword” queries. If we don’t begin with taxonomies for helping search engines categorize content, we will certainly never get to the holy grail of semantic search. We need every device we can create and sustain to make information more findable and understandable; we just don’t have time to both filter and read, comprehensively, everything a keyword search throws our way to gain the knowledge we need to do our jobs.

Experts recognize that organizing content with pre-defined terminology (aka controlled vocabularies) that can be easily displayed in an expandable taxonomic structure is a useful aid for a certain type of searcher. The audience for navigated search is one that appreciates the clustering of search results into groups that are easily understood. They find value in being able to move easily from broad concepts to narrower ones. They especially like it when the categories and terminology are a close match to the way they view a domain of content in which they are subject experts. It shows respect for their subject area and gives them a level of trust that those maintaining the repository know what they need.

Taxonomies, when properly employed, serve triple duty. Exposing them to search engines that are capable of categorizing content puts them into play as training data. Setting them up within content management systems provides a control mechanism and validation table for human assigned metadata. Finally, when used in a navigated search environment, they provide a visual map of the content landscape.

U.S. businesses are woefully behind in “getting it;” they need to invest in search and surrounding infrastructure that supports search. Comments from a recent meeting I attended reflected the belief that the rest of the world is far ahead in this respect. As if to highlight this fact, a colleague just forwarded this news item yesterday. “On February 13, 2008, the XBRL-based financial listed company taxonomy formulated by the Shanghai Stock Exchange (SSE) was “Acknowledged” by the XBRL International. The acknowledgment information has been released on the official website of the XBRL International (….”.

So, let’s get on with selling the basic business case for taxonomies in the enterprise to insure that the best of our knowledge assets will be truly findable when we need them.

I’ve been thinking about what makes me a little crazy about search sites

I’ve been thinking a lot about the best models for enterprise search lately because I work with clients who are mostly unhappy with the way their current enterprise search technology doesn’t result in meaningful content results, or because they are trying to find better ways of categorizing the content for easier access. One technique that I use to elicit feedback on possible approaches is to find examples on the Web of search interfaces that I believe are worth consideration. While I work with corporations with a heavy amount of R&D related content, I use examples as diverse as UN sites, catalogs, health care organizations, and so on, to get everyone’s imaginations working on the possible ways we could present content search options.

In some cases I am working to achieve a browsable construct for a taxonomy (that doesn’t necessarily look like a conventional taxonomy) and in other cases I may be trying to expose the searcher to “advanced” search features without getting into explanations of Boolean options, while still supporting them.

I have recently found a mental digression by thinking more about the reactions I get when I forward links to my clients for “design consideration and feedback.” The reactions seem to be quite visceral and, I’ll admit, mine are, too. I am beginning to segregate likes and dislikes into highly textual interfaces with very sparse graphics vs. interfaces that offer (or attempt to offer) a highly graphical layout of the window. Personally, I have no problem with graphics when they fit or mesh with the text but I realize that I ignore most pictorial graphics. Even when I attempt to use symbolic icons in a graphical interface I encounter for the first time, the struggle to connect meaning to the picture is not worth my effort.

The most confounding interfaces are those with a lot of text and a lot of pictures all mixed in, especially without a cohesive and minimalist color palette. I remember a strange disconnect several months into using Google. A significant holiday day came when they jazzed up their Google imprint. I was certain that it reflected a change in product design and “I didn’t like it.” When someone assured me that it was just a little “Google” fun, I accepted it but I still don’t like having them mess with the pure interface. When they moved the “directories” tab from the main page, it annoyed me and I don’t use it nearly as much any more, first because it is on a new page and second because it has a little picture attached that doesn’t mean “directories” to me.

Guess I’m still mired in the IBM “KISS” mode but I do like my text clean and simple. Take a look at Siderean’s demo – just the way I like it, no frills. No pictures are worth a thousand words to me.