Ontoprise GmbH: Multiple Issues Says Wikipedia

March 3, 2012

Now Wikipedia is a go-to resource for Google. I heard from one of my colleagues that Wikipedia turns up as the top hit on a surprising number of queries. I don’t trust Wikipedia, but I don’t trust any encyclopedia produced by volunteers including volunteers. Volunteers often participate in a spoofing fiesta.

seo danger transparent

Note: I will be using this symbol when I write about subjects which trigger associations in my mind about use of words, bound phrases, and links to affect how results may be returned from Exalead.com, Jike.com, and Yandex.ru, among other modern Web indexing services either supported by government entities or commercial organizations.

I was updating my list of Overflight companies. We have added five companies to a new Overflight service called, quite imaginatively, Taxonomy Overflight. We have added five firms and are going through the process of figuring out if the outfits are in business or putting on a vaudeville act for paying customers.

The first five companies are:

  1. Millenium
  2. Mondeca
  3. Nuance
  4. Synaptica
  5. Visual Mining
  6. Wand

We will be adding to the Taxonomy Overflight another group of companies on March 4, 2012. I have not yet decided how to “score” each vendor. For enterprise search Overflight, I use a goose method. Click here for an example: Overflight about Autonomy. Three ducks. Darned good.

I wanted to mention one quite interesting finding. We came across a company doing business as Ontoprise. The firm’s Web site is www.ontoprise.de. We are checking to see which companies have legitimate Web sites, no matter how sparse.

We noted that the Wikipedia entry for Ontoprise carried this somewhat interesting “warning”:


The gist of this warning is to give me a sense of caution, if not wariness, with regard to this company which offers products which delivered “ontologies.” The company’s research is called “Ontorule”, which has a faintly ominous sound to me. If I look at the naming of products from such firms as Convera before it experienced financial stress, Convera’s product naming was like science fiction but less dogmatic than Ontoprise’s language choice. So I cannot correlate Convera and Ontoprise on other than my personal “semantic”baloney detector. But Convera went south in a rather unexpected business action.

I did some poking around for the individuals who were listed as founders of Ontoprise. Only one of the names posted on the Wikipedia page had backlinks, which surprised me. I expect companies to provide some basic biographical data. There was one individual identified as a founder, Rudi Studer.

I followed this link for Herr Studer and learned:

Rudi Studer (born 1951 in Stuttgart) is a German computer scientist and professor at KIT, Germany. He is the head of the knowledge management research group at the Institute AIFB and one of the directors of the Karlsruhe Service Research Institute (KSRI). He is a former president of the Semantic Web Science Association, an STI International Fellow, and a member of numerous programme committees and editorial boards. He was one of the inaugural editor-in-chiefs of the Journal of Web Semantics, a position he held until 2007. He is a co-author of the Semantic Wikipedia proposal.

Like Google’s Dr. Ramanathan Guha, the credentials are indeed impressive (but also needing some Wikipedia feather preening), far better than the addled goose’s. I know zero about academic semantics, but I know colloquial semantics. The magnetism of semantic methods provide the underpinnings for what Google calls its Programmable Search Engine. I explained some of the features and functions of Dr. Guha’s work in Google Version 2.0. You may order a copy from Infonortics. The content is still relevant after five years in my view.

Dr. Guha’s work has more implications for “out of sight” data management, content parsing, and programmable functions. Many of Google’s more interesting features may have been influenced by Dr. Guha’s work. You may be familiar with the notion of merging disparate data and generating a federated view of certain content objects. I see touches of Dr. Guha’s work in functions such as those referenced in “Google Privacy Changes “In Breach of EU Law.

My views on my findings related to taxonomy vendors are tentative, but per my About page, I want to capture them:

  1. Many firms take extra steps to call attention to themselves. I am thinking about the Ontoprise Wikipedia page. Why not provide substance so that no possibility of an allegation of Wikipedia spam can be formulated. See, for example, “Fighting Wikipedia Spam.”
  2. Much of the gibberish about taxonomies and ontologies are not much more than what I call “desperation marketing.” I am sensitive to unsolicited email about “smart software” which indexes better than a human subject matter expert or a quickie seminars which will teach me how to formulate a taxonomy/ontology like a remedy similar to the Sedona “method.” Warnings, unfounded assertions, and downright baloney trigger my radar.
  3. Much of the “value” of semantic methods permit functions which the user sees as one thing, but may, in practice, be quite another. I explain how the Guha method can populate a data table automatically when facts from one source are absent. The Programmable Search Engine can perform “fill in the blanks” functions. This means a more comprehensive data table can be built from disparate sources of information, each of which is incomplete in some way. The result is a “new” content compilation of significant value. This type of function if implemented by a Google or an Ontoprise could be interpreted in different ways in a formal inquiry, research project, or legal matter.

Net net semantics are all the rage. We have learned to watch for flashing yellow lights. Are you? My taxonomy Overflight will provide basic information, and I am giving some thought to how to flag outfits which may be engaged in “desperation marketing.”

Stephen E Arnold, March 3, 2012

Sponsored by Pandia.com


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