Alistair Miles

Category: search

Collaboration in the Value Grid for Semantic Technologies

I’ve submitted a final version of a paper for the e-Science All Hands Meeting this year, now entitled “Collaboration in the Value Grid for Semantic Technologies”. The main body of the paper is much the same as the previous version, although I’ve tried to emphasise the link between the two main sections on value and collaboration. See e.g. the following extract:

Ontologies are not the only means of articulating a shared conceptualisation, however. Controlled vocabularies, taxonomies, thesauri, classification schemes, topic maps, subject heading systems, semantic networks – to name a selection – are all specifications of a shared conceptualisation, albeit “informal” or “semi-formal”. These and many other types of product have to be considered, in order to design solutions to specific problems at reasonable cost; solutions that are feasible, scalable and part of a sustainable business model. This begs a number of questions. What possible paths exist from knowledge expressed informally (unstructured information) to formal ontologies? How can these paths be broken down into stages, and what does each stage produce? In what ways can these different products be exploited? What are the likely costs, benefits and risks associated with different paths and different stages? How much human effort will be required, and how can this effort be reduced by computation? How can the necessary human effort be organised into efficient work flows that enable collaboration? Does economic and practical scalability vary with different paths and different products?

This paper works towards answers to these questions, by viewing ontologies as products in a value grid of semantic technologies, and by examining collaboration as a critical component of all value-adding activities within this grid. The dual focus of this paper on value and collaboration is emphasised, because these points of view are complementary. Whereas the focus on value leads to a better understanding of products and the ways in which they can be broken down, planned and exploited, the focus on collaboration leads to a better understanding of processes and the ways in which they can be structured and managed.

The Value Grid for Semantic Technologies

I’ve submitted a paper entitled “The Value Grid for Semantic Technologies” to the workshop on Issues in Ontology Development and Use to be held as part of the UK e-Science All Hands Meeting later this year. The paper is available for download from the following URL:


This paper situates formal ontologies as one of many products in a multi-tier value grid of semantic technologies. Incremental strategies for the exploitation of intermediate products in the value grid are discussed, as a possible step towards cost-effective, low-risk and scalable business models for the exploitation of semantic technologies. A case study is presented, illustrating a hypothetical value grid for the management of scientific data from a large-scale experimental facility. Suggestions are made for the design of predictable, repeatable collaborative processes for adding value in semantic technology value grids.

Enterprise Search: Google vs. Exalead vs. Oracle

Some interesting discussion in the session “Latest Developments in Enterprise Search” at Online Information yesterday (day 2, track 2, session 1)…

Francois Bourdoncle presented the Exalead approach; Roger Ford presented Oracle Secure Enterprise Search (SES); Roberto Solimene presented Google OneBox.

All three speakers emphasised being able to search different types of both structured and unstructured information. Surprisingly, none of the speakers talked about how their products achieve high precision (relevancy). The discussion after the talks was perhaps most interesting, highlighting two major issues in enterprise search, relevancy and privacy … here’s my raw notes taken at the time…

Read the rest of this entry »