ZigTag Finally Launches Semantic Bookmarking

So, I seem to have not been on the right RSS feed, because I totally missed the memo that ZigTag finally launched at the end of 2008.  I had signed up for the restricted Beta some time ago (there were 500 or so participants), and was awaiting the live version anxiously. ZigTag is a tagging/bookmarking tool that uses “defined” tags, whereby users choose from a controlled set of tags (through auto-complete) with semantic distinctions managed in a knowledge base.

For example, if you start typing in “Ital…”, it will start populating a drop-down of choices asking you if you mean, Ital (Rastafarian food), Italy (the country), Italian (Culture of Italy), etc.  If there are multiple versions of one word (synonyms), they use parenthetical qualifiers to define them. Hovering over a term also brings up definitions (brought in from Wikipedia).

ZigTag Screenshot

ZigTag Screenshot

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Electronic Medical Records: New Turf for Taxonomists?

Electronic Medical Records (EMR) have been receiving a good deal of attention of late. And it is no wonder. Amongst the challenges present in healthcare, both in the U.S.A. and globally, the fact that medical records largely consist of paper files certainly gives us pause. But what, exactly, are the goals of the much talked about EMR initiatives? And, are the approaches being discussed likely to meet those goals? Further, why am I writing about this issue on a blog that is about taxonomies, content management, and so on? Let us look at this a bit more carefully, as I think the connection to taxonomies and the like will become quite clear.

A quick survey through the news tells us that the efforts around EMR are anything but trivial. Indeed, the EMR efforts in Great Britain have been anything but smooth sailing. Their efforts, that have only targeted 30,000 physicians in 300 state run hospitals, have ended up coming in at six times the original cost estimate, and have delivered results that are, according to Public Accounts Chairman Edward Leigh “…late or, when deployed, do not meet expectations of clinical staff.” Given that our country faces a considerably greater diversity of hospital systems, owing to the private-sector nature of healthcare in the U.S.A., and a significantly larger number of hospitals and physicians, it would seem like the efforts are doomed to failure. Continue reading

Relating Different Lists of Terms

There are three different types of relationships in taxonomies: 

Equivalent (Synonyms: “International Business Machines = IBM”)

Hierarchical (Parent/Child : “Computer Manufacturers => IBM”)

Associative (Concept/Concept: “Software Group – Software”)

Heather Hedden’s presentation on taxonomy powered discovery for a recent Boston KM Forum contained an interesting set of examples for how to organize the last type of conceptually related term sets.

Process and agent: Programming – Programmers
Process and instrument: Skiing – Skis
Process and counter-agent: Infections – Antibiotics
Action and property: Environmental cleanup – Pollution
Action and target: Auto repair – Automobiles
Cause and effect: Hurricanes – Flooding
Object and property: Plastics – Elasticity
Raw material and product: Timber – Wood products
Discipline and practitioner: Physics – Physicists
Discipline and object: Literature – Books Continue reading