Christine Connors — October 6, 2008 – 5:48pm
For some reason or another (lots of travel, several hats at home and work) I’ve had trouble finalizing this post. Earlier today though, I read Paul Miller’s latest post on ZDNet. There seems to be some discussion about whether or not data is a commodity. I think there IS most definitely data that are a commodity.
Taxonomies are a valuable raw material in the management of information. A file that can be bought and sold and used to improve services. They can be generated by humans, machines, or even better: humans working with machines. Many taxonomies are a dime a dozen, with little to differentiate between versions of the same data. Some are like Kopi Luwak coffee – rare and extremely valuable. The word “taxonomy” is itself suffering from a kind of genericide. Classical definitions still apply: taxonomies have become commoditized.
The complexity of the controlled vocabulary will determine its value to a degree. A simple pick list should be easy and cheap to acquire – a list of countries, for example. Or colors, seasons, months – you get the idea. What is the value of a list of industries? Or companies? Maintenance is the primary cost factor – frequent changes require frequent updates, but an authority file in and of itself is not that complex. A broad and deep poly-hierarchical taxonomy I would expect to have more value. A poly-hierarchical taxonomy is one where a term in the taxonomy can have more than one parent term. Managing these relationships takes more time. An ontology – well, those aren’t quite commodities yet, but they will get there. Why? Because they still require a great deal of thought and effort.
Continues @ http://synapticacentral.com