Hello, Seattle

My partner and I have just moved to Seattle because of this…and because I (or we) have been itching to experience life in a new place.  I lived in Pittsburgh longer than I’d ever lived anywhere in my life, and I love it so.  BUT I’ve also wanted to move back to the Pacific Northwest ever since my family moved from Washington to Michigan when I was in 8th grade.  Mission accomplished!

I’m hoping to bring back this blog now that I am (hopefully temporarily) unemployed.  This is a chance to learn and write about the types of taxonomy and content topics that I’ll never have time for when I’m working!  Some of the topics I want to cover and send into the ether of the internet are:

  • multi-lingual taxonomies and ontologies: how do you create a global taxonomy when different cultures have different ways of conceptually grouping entities together?  are there certain levels of categorization that are global and thus more feasible to accurately translate and retain a good user experience?  and related to that…
  • user research: what tools are out there to help taxonomists understand the levels of granularity that might be appropriate for users of our taxonomies?  how do we build navigation or browse structures that are based on real user behavior and good data…not just what we think seems appropriate as taxonomists or interface designers?  are there certain types of users that interact with taxonomies differently than others?  are our taxonomies really benefiting users in the ways we think they are?
  • auto-categorization / classification: how are the taxonomies that are needed for auto-categorization or machine classification different than those needed for user-facing browse interfaces?  how can we reconcile the messy, subjective world of human-created content and ambiguous searching with the specificity and clarity needed for computers to accurately identify what some piece of content is and present that content to the right person at the right time?

Along those lines, here are some things I’ve been reading lately that might be of interest if you found the above topics intriguing:

Dickinson, Brew & Meurers. (2012). Language and Computers.

Computers and language – Linguistic Society of America

Jim Sweeney: “Successfully Managing Multilingual Taxonomies

Espinoza, M., Montiel-Ponsoda, E., & Gómez-Pérez, A. (2009). “Ontology Localization” in K-CAP’09, September 1–4, 2009, Redondo Beach, California, USA.

— see also: Jorge Mauricio Espinoza Mejía. (2014) Ontology Localization. Universidad de Zaragoza.


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