Taxodiary: At Last a Taxonomy News Service

August 3, 2010

I have tried to write about taxonomies, ontologies, and controlled term lists. I will be the first to admit that my approach has been to comment on the faux pundits, the so-called experts, and the azurini (self appointed experts in metatagging and indexing). The problem with the existing content flowing through the datasphere is that it is uninformed.

What makes commentary about tagging informed? Three attributes. First, I expect those who write about taxonomies to have built commercially-successful systems to manage terms lists and that those term lists are in wide use, conform to standards from ISO, ANSI, and similar outfits. Second, I expect those running the company to have broad experience in tagging for serious subjects, not the baloney that smacks of search engine optimization and snookering humans and algorithms with their alleged cleverness. Third, I expect the systems used to build taxonomies, manage classification schemes, and term lists to work; that is, a user can figure out how to get information out of a system relevant to his / her query.

taxodiary splash

Splash page for the Taxodiary news and information service.

How rare are these attributes?

Darned rare. When I worked on ABI/INFORM, Business Dateline, and the other database products, I relied on two people to guide my team and me. The first person is Betty Eddison, one of the leaders in indexing. May she rest in indexing heaven where SEO is confined to Hell. Betty was one of the founders of InMagic, a company on whose board I served for several years. Top notch. Care to argue? Get ready for a rumble, gentle reader.

The second person was Margie Hlava. Now Ms. Hlava, like Ms. Eddison, is one of the top guns in indexing. In fact, I would assert that she is on my yardstick either at the top or holds the top spot in this discipline. Please, keep in mind that her company Access Innovations and her partner Dr. Jay ven Eman are included in my reference to Ms. Hlava. How good is Ms. Hlava? Very good saith the goose.

What makes me honk with joy is that Ms. Hlava and her team have created a new blog (use for Web log) called Taxodiary. You will find a range of indexing, taxonomy, and metatagging information in the free digital information service. In addition, Ms. Hlava and her team comment on trends and developments in the field, adding opinions that illuminate an important, complex discipline.

Here’s what the company told me about the publication:

Access Innovations, Inc., a leader in the data management industry, has launched TaxoDiary (, a blog that covers news and information about indexing, ontologies, taxonomies, controlled vocabularies, metatagging and related subjects.

“We decided to launch the blog after much discussion with clients, colleagues and staff. There are many exciting issues and options which come across my desk everyday, and this is a great way to share them as well as our thoughts about their impact with a broader group of people. We can add some ‘color and shading’ to the disciplines involved in making web content findable,” explained Marjorie M.K. Hlava, president and chair of Access Innovations, Inc.

Hlava continued, “TaxoDiary will feature information from articles, other blogs, presentations, standards developments, and academic papers that we find interesting. It will also communicate our view that there is a careful, thoroughly-considered balance of software and human indexing that is the best way to index text, rich media and binary objects. That balance makes content findable to help organizations realize improved productivity, enhance web visitor and/or member satisfaction and make the most of all of their content and web-based resources.”

TaxoDiary has several standard sections, including news, features and recent posts. Anyone interested in updates can subscribe to the blog through, and comments are welcome.

“We want everyone’s feedback. We hope that readers and bloggers find TaxoDiary useful and perhaps controversial, but always agree that it focuses on the principal value of professional indexing,” Hlava concluded.

I want to be explicit about this publication. First, the Access Innovations team talked with me and some of the goslings about a blog. Second, I have contributed some articles to the publication, and I plan to toss in a story or two as topics appropriate to professional indexing activities occur to me. The discipline of indexing may benefit from the goose’s view of content processing.

We have added Taxodiary to our internal Overflight service, and the goslings and I urge you to check out Taxodiary, where real taxonomy and indexing gets discussed. Remember, an algorithm can spit out tags, but only a system and method can generate indexing schemes that conform to standards.

Access Innovations offers machine assisted indexing systems and services. The company also operates the Data Harmony Web site.

Stephen E Arnold, August 3, 2010

Sadly I was not paid to explain the difference between the azure chip approach to indexing and the work of the Access Innovations’ team. The firm has revamped its Web site as well.


One Response to “Taxodiary: At Last a Taxonomy News Service”

  1. Taxonomy: The New Hip | Digital Asset Management on August 9th, 2010 12:44 am

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