Education Services Australia announces the release of Schools Online Thesaurus (ScOT) v6.7

July 26, 2012

LogoEducation Services Australia has recently announced the release of Schools Online Thesaurus (ScOT) v6.7.

ScOT and agreed standards for digital resources, technical infrastructure, metadata and rights management support a national operating environment for the digital resources and infrastructure.

{Courtesy of the Semantic Web Company}

More info…


Wolters Kluwer Deutschland publish 2 legal thesauri as Linked Open Data

July 26, 2012

WKD Logo

From 12 July 2012, two thesauri (controlled vocabularies) covering juridical/legal topics are provided for free re-use as Linked Open Data: Onethesaurus is covering topics around labor law in German language, while the other one describes German and European courts. Both vocabularies can be accessed at: vocabulary.wolterskluwer.de/.

{Courtesy of the Semantic Web Company}

More info…

It will be interesting to see how this works out. Legal terms are notoriously jurisdiction-dependent. Those working in an EU context will no doubt welcome such a development but outside the EU? Wolters Kluwer are to be congratulated nevertheless. Let’s have more like this!


Making Sense of Human-Machine Symbiosis

April 12, 2009
Cynefin Model

Cynefin Model

A NUMBER of people have remarked to me that Dave Snowden’s title for his forthcoming talk to ISKO UK on 23 April 2009 is less than informative. Well, it depends on how well you know his work since he moved on from IBM’s Institute for Knowledge Management and the Cynefin Centre to focus on his own company, Cognitive Edge Pte Ltd.

I’m no expert in Cognitive Edge’s pioneering approach, but maybe I can shed some light on themes he might address in his talk by describing the context within which I apprehend it, and making a few other links along the way.

The processes of organizing and sharing knowledge are complex because people are involved in both the input and the output. However much we try to codify and structure both, there is always that residue of ‘fuzziness’ – un-order – which Checkland in his Soft Systems Methodology described as giving rise to ‘ill-defined’ or ‘soft’ problems.  Although the computer can help us greatly with codification and structure, it has been virtually useless in the face of soft problems – until perhaps the advent of Web 2.0.

As we are increasingly obliged to acknowledge, organizations are comprised of both formal and informal relationships, and it is often the latter which provide the real channels for knowledge and information flow. But how do we tap into these informal networks, and even if we can, how do we make sense of and derive value from what we find? Major shifts and trends (good and bad) often start as ‘weak signals‘, almost undetectable by conventional means. How can we spot these early enough to be able to discourage bad trends and encourage good ones?

Cognitive Edge addresses these questions within an organization by collecting narrative and organizing and analyzing it for meaningful patterns using its open source methods supported by its proprietary software suite SenseMaker. It should be readily apparent that such early intelligence could prove vital to effective decision-making in many situations where the degree of risk is not clear.

Less readily apparent perhaps, is that knowledge organization has a key role to play in this scenario. As UCL alumnus Patrick Lambe says in his excellent book Organising Knowledge: Taxonomies, Knowledge and Organisational Effectiveness:

“Categorisation is, of course, fundamental to the management of risk. Different kinds of risk must be identified and grouped together based on origin, severity or remedy. Risk intelligence systems need to identify the signals or clues that would indicate particular categories of risk and put in place monitoring mechanisms (strategic early warning systems) so that these signals are picked up whenever a risk is emerging (Gilad, 2001).”

Moreover, it does not take a huge leap of the imagination to suggest that if software such as SenseMaker can discern patterns and trends even when weakly detectable, then it could presumably be employed in bridging the gap between formal vocabularies and newly emergent terms and concepts. Such tools are needed to help us move beyond the spurious divide between the formal taxonomic ‘elite’ and the folksonomic lumpenproletariat which is advancing the cause of neither party.

Interesting thought: If software like SenseMaker had been deployed at Lloyds, would they still have gone through with the HBOS takeover?


SKOS Matures

April 8, 2009

ISKO UK’s SKOS colleague Antoine Isaac advises that after a long gestation period, SKOS (Simple Knowledge Organization System) has matured to become a W3C candidate recommendation. This has been achieved only after an enormous amount of work and endless discussion by the SWD-WG (W3C Semantic Web Deployment Working Group) over several years. To accompany the recommendation, a new Working Draft of the SKOS Primer has also been published.

The SWD-WG is now calling for ‘implementations’. Implementations can include:

  • any vocabulary (thesaurus, classification system, subject heading system, taxonomy or other KOS) or mapping between vocabularies that has been published in the Web as machine-readable data using SKOS, and/or has been made available via programmatic services using SKOS
  • any software that has the capability to read and/or write SKOS data, and/or can check whether a given SKOS dataset is consistent with the SKOS data model
  • Once an appropriate number of implementations and comments have been recorded and verified, the Candidate Recommendation will become a Proposed Recommendation and subsequently a full W3C Recommendation. W3C Recommendations are comparable to standards published by other organizations.

    SKOS will then join other key W3C recommendations such as XHTML, CSS2, GRDDL, SPARQL, SVG, XSLT and of course, XML itself, as building blocks of the Semantic Web.

    We congratulate our SKOS colleagues on a truly impressive achievement.




    SKOS-based Semantic Terminology Services

    April 22, 2008

    {distilled from a posting by Doug Tudhope (University of Glamorgan) to the SKOS mailing list}
    The STAR project has developed a pilot set of semantic web services, based upon the SKOS Core data model for thesauri and related knowledge organization systems. The services currently provide term look up across the thesauri held in the system, along with browsing and semantic concept expansion within a chosen thesaurus. This allows search to be augmented by SKOS-based vocabulary and semantic resources (assuming the services are used in conjunction with a search system).

    In combination with a search system, the services allow queries to be expanded (automatically or interactively) by synonyms or by expansion over the SKOS semantic relationships. Expansion is based on a measure of ‘semantic closeness’. Anyone interested is welcome to inspect the API or download a client demonstrator, which is currently configured to operate with a subset of English Heritage thesauri.

    The work is ongoing and the researchers welcome any feedback or interest in collaboration on developing an API to support a rich range of SKOS use cases.

    Downloads and further details can be found at the Hypermedia Research Unit web site.