Wednesday, March 22, 2006

They are shutting down Zeal.

Man. I was a damn lucky dotcommer to not have seen any of my work get totally destroyed like this. Well, up until now. This is the first time they're just going to pull the plug on something I worked on. It was a really great site for a while, if I do say so myself. It could have continued to be good with minimal maintenance. I would have loved to have seen a meta-editor account for some of the more dedicated community members, so that they could have worked in the commercial categories and reclassified paid listings.

I'm really sorry about some of those Expert Zealot questions. You're right, they were pretty hard. Like Oregon DMV trick questions hard.

Sunday, March 12, 2006


Semtech2006 007
Originally uploaded by ontologista.
I didn't get any good pictures. This poster made me grin a bit, though.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

I've been to a few librariancentric conferences in my time. Every one was a total hen party. Internet Librarian was the closest to gender parity, but there was still a line out the door in the women's room.

This place is a complete sausage-fest. There are maybe two dozen women out of 200 attendees. What's up with that? Seems like ontology and semantics are such a natural extension of librarianship that there should be more of my sisters here. I guess the expression of cataloging concepts using logical notation is scaring us off? I don't know.

On the plus side, I don't have to wait for the bathroom.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Chris has been writing a bit about tagsology. I love the idea of a paid (or unpaid, depending) ontologist taking care of business on the back end, trying to keep relationships going between concepts. I've been mulling over a couple of problems I can see with formalizing folksonomy in this way.

1. Other than things people are deeply interested in, what is the motivation to tag? I'm here at Semantic Technology and a presenter described a tagging program she instituted at her company. Their content is perfect for tagging, the system was relatively easy to use, yet no one added any tags in six months. Her conclusion is that tagging is not something people do at work, unless it's part of their formal duties. Social search as a whole seems to be focused around passions and hobbies, rather than a large domain of things that need to be retrieved. It'll be really easy to find tags for all 10? of the Doctors from Dr. Who and nothing on the Fed chairmen before Greenspan.

2. People love to be unique. Everyone who has ever dealt with a client knows this. The first thing a client will tell you is why they are a unique flower within their industry, that they do nothing like anyone else, and by the way, have you read their mission statement? People are the same. They don't really want to tag things in such a way that they match each others' tags. Some users will tag cat pictures with the word "puppy" or "Danger!" or, in my case, "Bean" because that's her name. Important or popular documents in a folksonomy get multiple tags, but people need to find them to tag them, and with without the right entry tags, they'll never get found.

Friday, March 03, 2006

I'm headed to the 2006 Semantic Technology conference in San Jose on Tuesday. If the Fairmont Hotel is suddenly attacked by taxonomist-eating bears, it's possible that controlled data and knowledge management as we know it might change.

See you all there!