Along with the rapid increase in the availability of information comes the problem of retrievability. Within less than ten years, IBM has moved from providing product information in the form of books, manuals, to online help systems. Almost all products now provide an Eclipse-based information center, even when help systems are also integrated with the product itself. Nevertheless, retrievability remains a significant issue. Customers openly admit to using search engines to find information, rather than using the navigation provided with the information center. For several years now, IBM has been moving towards classification as a solution to the retrievability problem, using controlled vocabularies in the form of taxonomies. The classification is surfaced with a facet browser extension to the Eclipse Help System. However, formal classification has some disadvantages, and collaborative tagging has emerged as a dynamic, albeit less controlled, alternative solution to making information easier to find. Having set the scene, this talk will then review classification as a general approach to making artefacts easier to find, leading to the hypothesis that we can gain added value from a combination of formal classification and collaborative tagging. The talk will then describe the sTAGr project, which produced a proof-of-concept prototype during the 2008 UK Extreme Blue programme. Several aspects of sTAGr demand further investigation, so the talk will conclude with some peeks into the crystal ball.
Dr Colin Bird
Those whose memories go back to 1999 might remember Colin during his year on secondment to ECS from IBM Hursley. Much longer memories are necessary to stretch back to Colin's arrival at Southampton, which led to a BSc and PhD in Chemistry. IBM might not seem a obvious destination from there, but Colin did work as a chemist at Hursley for over 15 years, before transferring to the IBM UK Scientific Centre in Winchester. While at the UKSC, Colin became acquainted with the Multimedia Research Group at Southampton. Change overcame both the UKSC and the MMRG but Colin's interest in information retrieval continued to grow, leading in due course to that secondment, As the new millennium began, Colin joined the User Technologies group at Hursley, where is now an Information Architect, specialising in information classification as a means for improving retrieval, and with a particular interest in automated methods for classifying large sets of information according to controlled vocabularies. Colin is an IBM Master Inventor, with 26 patents to his name, and also works with Professor Jeremy Frey on aspects arising from the CombeChem project.