Tuesday, 6 December 2011
2011, London: Facet, 224pp, £44.95,
When I recently told a fellow librarian I was reviewing a book on information retrieval (IR) she denied that the concept had any relevance to librarianship any more – it’s now (allegedly) all about the fuzzier and friendlier ‘resource discovery’. IR has always been a particular interest of computer-science departments, but this book argues, against my colleague, for its continued wider relevance and validity.
Behind the catch-all title lies a deep vein of historical analysis and a wide range of perspectives on IR in practice. David Bawden asks what happens to browsability and serendipity when most information-seeking acts take place online. Aida Slavic gives an up-to-the-minute report from the overlapping borders of semantics, linked data and classification. Three chapters deal respectively with the retrieval of music information, fiction, and the usefulness of social tagging. The final two chapters investigate searchers’ interaction with information objects, and search engines through the lens of webometrics (i.e. the quantitative aspects of the Web).
There are gems here but there are also obsolete data (studies of AltaVista and HotBot tell us nothing about how Google works today), careless mistakes (a reference to “Julie” Kristeva), irrelevancies (we are told that Yahoo! China has “particularly good coverage of China”), and text that could benefit from greater editorial invention. The extensive research being carried out by the Goliaths of the internet is entirely absent, though Microsoft and Google have large research divisions. But the book makes the case for IR being an expansive area of study, and the academy-centred magpie approach is ideally suited to its defined target audience – master’s-level students in ILS wanting information and inspiration. The volume, in different ways, offers both.
Colin Higgins, Librarian, St Catharine's College Cambridge
Tuesday, 15 November 2011
Tuesday, 1 November 2011
A Bibliographic Framework for the Digital AgeThe new bibliographic framework project will be focused on the Web environment, Linked Data principles and mechanisms, and the Resource Description Framework (RDF) as a basic data model. The protocols and ideas behind Linked Data are natural exchange mechanisms for the Web that have found substantial resonance even beyond the cultural heritage sector. Likewise, it is expected that the use of RDF and other W3C (World Wide Web Consortium) developments will enable the integration of library data and other cultural heritage data on the Web for more expansive user access to information.
Original source. Thanks to Tom Baker of the DC Architecture list for distributing this news.
Saturday, 15 October 2011
ISKO UK's next event Interoperability: joining up knowledge and information in the health sector, a half-day seminar on 1st November 2011, 14:00 - 19:00, at The King's Fund, 11-13 Cavendish Square, London W1G 0AN offers the opportunity to hear the thoughts of leading health information experts, as well as to network and meet others working in information and health professions.
For details of the speakers, the programme, and bookings, visit the event website: http://www.iskouk.org/events/health_nov2011.htm.
To follow ISKO UK on Twitter: @ISKOUK.
Friday, 30 September 2011
Classification & Ontology: Formal Approaches and Access to Knowledge, was the third biennial conference in a series of UDC Seminars organized by the UDC Consortium and hosted by Koninklijke Bibliotheek.
The conference took place on 19-20 September 2011 and was attended by 141 delegates from 30 countries from Europe, Asia, North America, South America and Australia. The keynote address by Patrick Hayes kick-started a two-day programme consisting of 21 talks and two poster presentations.
Excellent input from all speakers combined with a very engaged audience made this conference an important and successful event. The meeting of semantic technology specialists and classificationists, inspired many interesting discussions and gave us plenty of ideas and topics for the next UDC Seminar.
Slides and audio recordings can be accessed from the conference programme page.
Proceedings, published by Ergon can be purchased online on the conference website.
UKeiG is delighted to announce this year’s winner of the UKeiG Tony Kent Strix Award.
Professor Alan Smeaton of the School of Computing, Dublin City University is a worthy winner of this prestigious award with sustained contributions in the field of natural language processing techniques for textual information retrieval as well as in the indexing and retrieval of image, audio and video data. He now leads a research team at the University of 40 researchers working in areas including life-logging, video analysis, summarization and search, data aggregation in environmental sensor networks, collaborative search techniques, data fusion from sensor networks and using sensors in media applications. He was founding director for the Centre for Digital Video Processing, a world-leading research centre for video processing and retrieval. Professor Smeaton was also the founding coordinator of TRECVid, which started as an independent evaluation exercise of the Text REtrieval Conference (TREC) in 2001 – an initiative that has clearly been instrumental to the progress of the field of digital video retrieval.
The presentation of the ‘Owl’ Trophy and a certificate will take place on Monday 24th October at the Enterprise Search Europe event at the Hilton London Olympia. Martin White (UKeiG Chair), Doug Veal (Chair of the Strix Award Panel) and David Hawking, the Keynote Speaker for the opening day, will preside over the presentation. They will be joined by representatives of the UKeiG Tony Kent Strix Award’s two sponsors: ASLIB and the Chemical Information and Computer Applications Group of the Royal Society of Chemistry.
Further information about the award, as well as a list of past winners, can be found at http://www.ukeig.org.uk/awards/tony-kent-strix.
Sunday, 25 September 2011
What do you think about the formation of such an umbrella group? Should ISKO UK be involved or not? If ISKO UK should be involved, in what ways? Would it dilute ISKO UK's purpose to get involved, or would it be beneficial? Do you think professional fragmentation matters, or are we best served by numerous specialist groups?
ISKO UK is run by committed volunteers, not paid staff, and seeks to keep costs to members as low as possible, so becoming part of an umbrella group could be costly. On the other hand, such an umbrella group could be something that you as ISKO UK members would actively want to support as a way of promoting the information professions in general and knowledge organization work in particular.
Please tell us what you think – all comments, ideas, questions, and suggestions are appreciated. You are welcome to leave comments on this blog, to email email@example.com, or to send a tweet or a DM to @ISKOUK on Twitter.
Monday, 12 September 2011
I have written more about the conference on my blog, VocabControl.
Saturday, 13 August 2011
CLASSIFICATION & ONTOLOGY: Formal Approaches and Access to Knowledge
International UDC Seminar 2011
9-20 September, The Hague, Netherlands
VENUE: Koninklijke Bibliotheek
FEE: €200 (€170 students)
The conference fee includes the conference proceedings book published by Ergon Verlag, refreshments, reception and two lunches.
To secure your place at this event register online.
Ontology-like representations of classifications are recognized as potentially important facilitators in creating a web of linked data. The conference keynote speaker is Professor Patrick Hayes, one of the key players in the Semantic Web initiative and the development of RDF, OWL and SPARQL. His talk entitled "On being the same" will remind us of some oddities and internal inconsistencies in data found on the Web, as the Semantic web starts to take shape with the rise of linked data.
Following the keynote address we will hear a selection of speakers from the domains of web technology, ontology, knowledge organization and bibliographic classification, including Dan Brickley, Guus Schreiber, Thomas Baker, Dagobert Soergel, Roberto Poli, Ingetraut Dahlberg, Barbara Kwasnik, Rebecca Green, Michael Panzer, Marcia Zeng, Daniel Kless, Joan Mitchell, Richard Smiraglia, Vanda Broughton, Devika Madalli, Claudio Gnoli and more.
Read more in the conference Programme (linked to abstracts and speakers biographies)
Sunday, 7 August 2011
The conference will be held from 29 September to 3 October on the Greek island of KOS. Sessions will include:
- 4th Symposium on Business and Management and Dynamic Simulation Models supporting management strategies
- Information content preservation as outcome of Conservation of Cultural Heritage: Ethics, Methodology and Tools
- Graph Motifs in Information Networks
- Artists’ Responses to the Museum after 1900 and the Writing of Art History
- Contemporary issues in Management: Organisational Behaviour, Information Technology, Education & Hospital leadership
- Electronic Publishing: A developing landscape
- Open access repositories: self-archiving, metadata, content policies, usage
- Evidence-Based Information in Clinical Practice
- Information and Knowledge Management
- 2nd AMICUS Workshop: "Motifs in Cultural and Scientific Narratives"
- Symposium on Advances Information for Strategic Management
- Symposium on Business Management and Communication Strategies supporting Decision Making Process in Tourism Sector
- Information History: Perspectives, methods and current topics
- Divergence and convergence: information work in digital cultural memory institutions
(Via Conrad Taylor and the KIDMM list)
Monday, 11 July 2011
Wednesday, 6 July 2011
Highlights included the keynote addresses by Professor Amanda Spink, Liz Orna, and Patrick Lambe. Professor Spink called for further study of human behaviour and psychology to help people develop and enhance their information skills in the digital age. Liz Orna emphasized the importance of visualizations and graphics for communication. Patrick Lambe described the importance of knowledge organization in science and called for information professionals to look to the big picture to find ways of being useful and innovative, not just professionally but for society as a whole.
Monday, 27 June 2011
Wednesday, 4 May 2011
The Award is given in recognition of an outstanding contribution to the information profession, by meeting one or more of the following criteria:
- raising the profile of the information profession within an organisation or field of endeavour in a way which has become an exemplar to others;
- raising the awareness of the value of information in the workplace;
- demonstrating excellence in education and teaching in information science;
- a major contribution to the theory and practice of information science or information management.
Key characteristics that the judges will look for in nominations are innovation, initiative, originality and practicality. None of the criteria should be read as implying activity over an extended period. The Award is open to individuals or groups from anywhere in the world.
Full details for nominations can be found on the Call for Nominations page.
Nominations for the 2011 Award are now invited, and should be sent before Friday October 21st, to:
Aberystwyth SY23 4TJ
Tel: +44 1974 251302
Sunday, 17 April 2011
The research generated three reports:
- Website reviews, and use of third party sites (150 pp.)
- Analysis of website manager survey results (50 pp.)
- Recommendations for social metadata and bibliography (due November 2010).
The slide set includes a number of interesting examples where social metadata are used, from Flickr geotagging to The Mutiny on the Bounty, to 19th century moustaches. The slides then go on to present a summary of the results, such as how long respondents have been offering social media features, their reasons for doing so, social media and interactive features offered and policies and guidelines used, concluding with 18 recommendations.
There is no indication whether the papers accompanying the presentations will be published online.
Thursday, 14 April 2011
The Ins and Outs of Information Rights
The first speaker was Christopher Graham, the current UK Information Commissioner. He began by discussing the role of the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO). It has to enforce such regulations and the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), the Data Protection Act (DPA) and Environment Information Regulations and Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations. The ICO provides advice, guidance, monitoring, and promotes best practice and compliance with the law. With a staff of 350, the ICO seeks to be the “authoritative arbiter of information rights” and a model of good regulation.
Practically everybody is a stakeholder for the ICO, from local authorities, to politicians, citizens, and consumers. The commissioner has the rights of a corporation - a huge responsibility - but can only be dismissed by the Queen with the assent of both Houses of Parliament, so it is a good job to have in a recession.
Freedom of Information and Data Protection legislation embody competing rights. The Freedom of Information Act was seen as a bit of a “bolt on” to Data Protection law, but it became clear that they are intertwined and both have to be considered together. Some people have called for the establishment of a “privacy commissioner” to make the case for privacy, but this would just defer the decision point, as someone else would have to take responsibility for deciding on the balance between private rights and public interest.
It is a very exciting time to be involved in information, with controversial issues such as the ethics of the creation of human DNA databases. Linked Open Data is also opening up exciting possibilities. Crime mapping is a classic case of balancing privacy and freedom of information. There is a clearly a strong public interest in crime statistics, but could be detrimental to the rights of people living in high crime areas. Too much anonymising, however, may destroy the usefulness of the data. Ironically, the Big Society could actually end up involving less accountability as information moves into private arenas that do not have the same responsibilities to be open.
Public attitudes towards information security are ambivalent. People like CCTV to protect them, but resent being spied on. They like their data to be secure but are less concerned about the amount of data that organisations collect and store.
Ten years after the introduction of the FOIA, there is still a mixed picture. Organisations should have publication schemes, offer rights of access and processes for handling requests, but there are a growing number of complaints to the ICO over FOIA requests. As the current government’s information and open data agenda becomes more high profile, the public are likely to become more interested.
The FOIA should help to reduce inefficiency as it opens up public sector spending to scrutiny. Breaches of the information act are costly and the ICO monitors organisations to make sure they reply to requests promptly. Answer requests is becoming more difficult for organisations with dwindling budgets. The ICO website is a rich resource of information and support and the ICO tweets as @iconews.
The Checks and Balances of a Transparent Public Sector World of Information
Carol Tullo of the National Archives (NA) discussed the benefits of exploiting and re-exploiting public sector data, while avoiding unacceptable risks. Law, copyright, archives and information science all form part of Carol Tullo’s work. The NA is an information gatekeeper, even if it doesn’t think of itself like that. How do we give people access to public sector information, rather than just allowing people to get their own information? The default position is about proactive release of information and it is a very different world to the one of 20 years ago.
Nobody knows what transparency and accountability mean outside the information world but we use the terms all the time. The NA is trying to explain the concepts. The principles of public data policy have come down to core issues including releasing data under open licensing and open standards in re-usable form. If you can embed metadata standards in a pdf, it is not locked up and the metadata is not easily removed, so authorship provenance etc. is preserved. There are various strands of information management that are not creating standards and tools to publish this data in a sharable reusable form. For example, staff structures and organisational charts of public institutions are of public interest, but are often not kept in reusable sharable formats. The NA has helped developed a tool to standardise organisational charts to help institutions publish these usefully.
The government recognise the value of the data and for ten years there has been and agenda to publish more. It is still slow and there are moves to place obligations on institutions to publish. The NA is encouraging institutions to be proactive about releasing their data. The Open Government Licence launched last September is aimed to encourage this. Some 180 local authorities are now releasing their data under it and the Ministry of Culture in South Korea and the government in British Columbia, Canada, have adopted it. It is the new default licence under the FOIA.
No-one has been sued for using opened up data yet. The hack days and releases to encourage use of the data haven’t caused problems. However, people are worried that they can’t trust the licence that they will somehow get in to trouble for using data they discover on government websites, so more encouragement than a simple link to the licence would help.
The issue of semi-private companies and contractors working for the public sector and how much of their data should be made open also needs thought. Knowing what data is available and how it is structured is also important. There are many inventories in taxonomies, asset registers, etc. that can help.
Structured data, open standards and open formats, are vital. Using standards, schemas and APIs produces really rich metadata that allows sharing. Sheer weight of volume and limited resources can render huge amounts of information inaccessible, without any deliberate cover-up or conspiracy. Digital volumes of data are huge.
The NA helps form legislation to come up with something that is fit for purpose and useful for public sector information workers. Ministers want officials to come up with solutions to problems create by legislation so that people can easily get hold of information to solve their problems effortlessly.
Information managers need to see themselves as gamekeepers, rather than gatekeepers. They should make sure their information stock is healthy, but let it roam free for people to hunt down and use. This is the best way to support growth in an information economy.
What's Wrong with UK Information Law?
Charles Oppenheim gave3 a very entertaining presentation, opening with an anecdote about an early attempt by the Department of Trade and Industry to encourage publication and re-use of government data. The DTI published a list of names and phone numbers of civil servants to contact to ask for information. However, the first civil servant who was contacted immediately demanded where the caller had found his name, then declared that his name and number were official secrets and slammed the phone down. The situation has transformed since then.
There are many breaches of UK and EU information legislation. Personal data should not be transferred outside the European Economic Area unless there is accurate legal protection - such as rights to see and correct information. The USA fails the tests, so no-one can legally transfer data to the USA without some protections. Some safe harbours are declared for companies that are deemed compliant with DPA principles. However, the USA’s PATRIOT Act demands rights for the authorities to see and access all sorts of data for anti-terrorism and security purposes. The owner of the data may not be told that the data is being inspected. Lockheed Martin is handling 2011 census data, but the company is subject to the PATRIOT Act. Despite the statement at the start of the census, a large number of bodies have access to freshly collected census data.
The DPA doesn’t address cloud computing and may be out of date. Computers might be in all sorts of places such as the USA that don’t have adequate data and privacy rights protection. The cloud computing suppliers resist any attempt to abide by the rules. They don’t put compliance in the contract. If you fail to impose safeguards on your cloud computing supplier, you are in breach of the DPA.
People have the right to sue if there has been breach of the act, but you can only sue for distress if the data has appeared in the media. So, if a company sends you threatening letters because of incorrect information, you have no redress for the distress this may cause. It is a criminal offence to unlawfully obtain personal data, and reckless loss if an offence but reckless disregard of other data protection principles is not an offence. In any case, the expense of court cases means that most people could not afford to sue.
The FOIA was declared by Tony Blair to be the biggest mistake of his prime ministerial career. There are many problems with applying it and a lot of complaints end up at the ICO. Firvolous or arduaous requests can be a problem for organisations. In Norway there is an exemption from the Norwegian freedom of information act if the person making the request is obviously drunk! One good effect is the obligation on public authorities to provide electronic datasets under FOIA in a form that can be conveniently reused.
Meaningful, Linked Local Data
Paul Davidson, Chairman, CTO Public Sector Information Domain Team, talked about Linked Data and data standards. He pointed out that data can become more open the more it is processed as it becomes less personal. He contrasted data created at the operational level with the statistical, analytical and political stages of processing, as a records, such as a personal health care record, is then combined with others to produce statistics, which are then analysed an then used as evidence for policies. connect to improve. He described what needs ot be done to make data sharable, by explaining the semantics – controlled vocabularies and descriptive terms so that the subject is understandable, quality assurances so that people know how reliable, accurate and up to date the data is, any relevant rights and consents, and the format it is published in. IT is usually easier to provide such information for public data than for other types of data.
He stressed that public bodies should not require people to have to hunt around their websites and take the data in a single format, but should allow people to get to the raw data and take it away to use in their own applications. Standards are important, but it is better to publish the data in any format rather than keep it locked up while standards are selected.
However, meaningful data is much more than just bland lists. It is very hard to assess value without context –for example the figure for the total expenditure on hotel bills isn’t helpful unless you know whether it was a few people in an expensive hotel or lots in cheap ones. Knowing spending on roads by council is not useful unless you know the lengths of roads in each council area, so you can make a per mile comparison.
Ontologies, URIs, reference lists, and data registries all need to be managed to support Linked Data. Aggreagtors are also needed so that data sets can be brought together and queried easily and it is not clear whether the public sector should be providing such services or leaving such provision to the private sector to develop. Finally, end users who want the data are needed as well.
The afternoon ended with a lively panel session with all the speakers, followed by drinks and networking.
Short biographies of the speakers are available on the ISKO UK website.
This afternoon meeting is organized in co-operation with the UCL Department for Information Studies
Wednesday, 23 February 2011
The UKeiG Tony Kent Strix Award is given in recognition of an outstanding practical innovation or achievement in the field of information retrieval. This could take the form of an application or service, or an overall appreciation of past achievements from which significant advances have emanated. The Award is open to individuals or groups from anywhere in the world. The deadline for nominations is
Nominations should be for achievement that meets one or more of the following criteria:
· a major and/or sustained contribution to the theoretical or experimental understanding of the information retrieval process;
· development of, or significant improvement in, mechanisms, a product or service for the retrieval of information, either generally or in a specialised field;
· development of, or significant improvement in, easy access to an information service;
· a sustained contribution over a period of years to the field of information retrieval; for example, by running an information service or by contributing at national or international level to organisations active in the field.
Key characteristics that the judges will look for in nominations are innovation, initiative, originality and practicality.
Full details for nominations can be found at http://www.ukeig.org.uk/content/2011-call-tony-kent-strix-nominations.
Nominations for the 2011 Award are now invited.
Saturday, 12 February 2011
We are pleased to invite you to the next ISKO UK open meeting to be held on 14th April 2011 entitled Public Access to Information? Challenges for information gatekeepers.
This ISKO UK event is organized in cooperation with Taxonomies in the Public Sector and UCL Department for Information Studies.
Speakers are Christopher Graham (UK Information Commissioner), Carol Tullo (The National Archives), Charles Oppenheim and Paul Davidson (Public Sector Information Domain Team)
To read more about the event to book your place go to the event website.
The event will take place at University College London.
Monday, 17 January 2011
The latest issue of the issue of the Classification and Indexing Section Newsletter is now available. The contents include:
- A Few Words from the Chair
- Classification and Indexing Section Report
- Reports: IFLA Namespaces Task Group; UDC News in 2010; Dewey Decimal Classification News
- News from... Czechia, Italy, Portugal, United States (Library of Congress)
- More News:
- - EUROVOC conference, Luxembourg
- Fundamentals of NLM Classification course
- International UDC Seminar 2011: Classification & Ontology
- 10th Conference of the ISKO Spanish Chapter
As well as invited papers, submissions are being reviewed and the programme will be finalised at the beginning of February. Booking starts from Feb 7th 2011.
We expect a diverse international programme of presentations and posters on knowledge organisation, with key themes of:
- Classification, information retrieval
- Semantics and the Web
- Putting the user first
- Evaluation and testing
- Society, networking and collaboration
- Models and structure
Places are limited and this will doubtless be another lively and engaging event