Wednesday, 12 November 2008

Outputs available: "Semantic Analysis Technology" event, 3 November 2008

The outputs (presentation slides and mp3) from the ISKO UK event that took place on 3rd November 2008 entitles "Semantic Analysis Technology: in Search of Categories, Concepts & Context" are now available the event's website

This half-day event included presentations by Luca Scagliarini of Expert System, Jeremy Bentley of SmartLogic, Rob Lee of Rattle Research and linked presentations by BBC information architects Helen Lippell, Karen Loasby and Silver Oliver - followed by a rather interesting panel discussion. There were more than hundred people in attendance.

The talks represented the different approaches in text processing and advanced techniques in automatic resource indexing that help to resolve ambiguities in content searching and linking:

1. Luca Scagliarini (Expert System) "Whales & cat fur: using a semantic net to improve precision & recall" [pdf] [mp3]
Luca pointed out that the present information discovery suffered from both information overload and information underload due to a lack of meaning-based text processing. He reviewed current technologies and illustrated problems with shallow automatic linguistic analysis and the lack of 'understanding' of the meaning that is encoded in the relationships between verbs, prepositions and nouns. He illustrated how a 'deep semantic analysis' based on the analysis of relationships works in Expert System's new semantic intelligence software, Cogito. Cogito utilizes an innovative 'semantic network' to achieve improved machine 'understanding'. The semantic network contains 350,000 definitions and 2.8 million relationships for the English language vocabulary.

Jeremy Bentley (SmartLogic) "It’s just semantics" [pdf][mp3]
Jeremy provided an overview of issues in information organization: unstructured information, the doubling of number of resources every 19 months, the problem of 'findability' and the issues with black box solutions. He illustrated the relevance of metadata and the relevance of taxonomies built specifically to reflect the way a business works. He explained how this could be exploited in managing the semantic layer of an information and content architecture and how an ontology can be used for automatic analysis of contexts and semantics, in queries and search engines.
Rob Lee (Rattle Research): "Connecting concepts: joining up the BBC" [slideshare][mp3]
Rob Lee talked about Muddy Boots, a BBC project dealing with linked data and the creation of dynamic semantic richness. The BBC's remit to link to external sources has provoked lots of thinking and doing in the area of dynamic linking. Rob illustrated how datasets in the public domain such as MusicBrainz or DBpedia (which structures content from Wikipedia so that it can be used in semantic web systems) can be used to contextualise and index BBC resources as well as to extend them with external links.

Helen Lippell, Karen Loasby, Silver Oliver: "Tales from the trenches of auto-categorisation: three case studies in the implementation of auto-categorisation systems" [pdf][mp3]
Helen, Karen and Silver presented three different implementations of auto-categorisation systems at the BBC. They demonstrated the advantages and issues with each of these approaches. Helen's presentation entitled "Teaching computers to read newspapers Aka Automatic classification at in the early noughties" was about experience in a joint project by the FT, Lexis-Nexis and Dialog. The goal was to connect thousands of resources through a single interface. The tool used was Verity Intelligent Classifier (VIC) and the classification process used a taxonomy with a set of rules that could be finely tuned. Karen spoke about "Content Management Culture in the BBC" a metadata orientated project to produce BBC content that could be described in detail. The approach applied was a rule-based automatic classification system combined with the author's review and corrections. Silver talked about a "Statistical-based auto-categorisation" project designed to connect and cross-reference distributed BBC content and resources horizontally.

See outputs from other ISKO UK events.

CFP: IFLA Satellite Meeting: Classification and Indexing Section, August 2009, Florence

Call for Papers for the IFLA 2009 Satellite Meeting

Classification and Indexing Section
Florence, Italy
20-21 August 2009

Theme: "Looking at the Past and Preparing for the Future"

The IFLA Classification and Indexing Section is pleased to announce
a satellite pre-conference which will explore the theoretical and
methodological aspects of rethinking semantic access to information
and knowledge and will offer a general survey of innovative projects
deployed to cope with the challenges of the future, offering a unique
opportunity for librarians, academics and other information
professionals to be informed about the state of the art in subject indexing.

Librarians, academics and other information professionals around the
world are invited to submit paper proposals for the satellite
meeting, focusing on:
- Systems, tools and standards in subject indexing
- Retrieval in multilingual, multicultural environments
- Web indexing and social indexing

If you are interested in contributing, please send:

An abstract of 300-500 words in English including a title.
An outline of the presentation.
Brief biographical information of the author(s)/presenter(s) with
current employment information.
Your mailing address.
All this by December 15, 2008 to: Patrice Landry at:

e-mail :
fax: +41 31 322 84 63

The submissions will be reviewed by a selection committee of the
Classification and Indexing Section Standing Committee. The selection
will be based on the abstracts and rated on how well they fit the
programme theme. Authors will be contacted by February 15, 2009.

For successful applicants the deadline for submission of full papers
is June 15, 2009 to allow time for review of papers and all other
organization needs. The papers must be original submissions, not
published elsewhere, and should be no longer than 15 pages,
double-spaced. Papers should be in English.

Presentations at the satellite meeting will be limited to approx. 20
minutes and will be a summary of the original paper and may use
PowerPoint. The conference will be conducted in English and all
presentations will be required to be in English.

Please note that no financial support can be provided. The expenses
of attending the meeting in Florence will be the responsibility of
the author(s) / presenter(s) of accepted papers.

For information on the IFLA Classification and Indexing Section,
please see

For additional information on this call for papers, you may contact
Leda Bultrini ( or Patrice Landry
( by e-mail.