“Organizing data to inform mission judgments by providing associated content helps us examine problems in order to mitigate risk and become a proactive, learning enterprise. This allows each mission to build on the missions that have come before. This is the foundation architecture for a true NASA knowledge base”

– Jayne Dutra, Enterprise Information Architect, NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory

CASE STUDIES

Taxonomy Strategies provides specialized consulting services to help organizations arrange their information for its most effective use. This section includes case studies that represent some of our recent projects.

Halliburton

Halliburton, one of the world’s largest providers of products and services to the petroleum and energy industries, needed assistance ensuring that technical information could easily be found and delivered to technicians in the field, to contractors, and to important large customers. The energy services industry had gotten so technical that it was taking years to get new technicians trained to do their job, and it had become difficult for contractors and customers to know what Halliburton product line their various products and services might be in. As new internal specialist portals, extranets, and www sites were being developed, Halliburton wanted to ensure that the problems with search would be fixed, and that the promise of personalized portals for technicians and customers would be realized.

Taxonomy Strategies worked with Halliburton’s knowledge management staff to consolidate multiple taxonomies that had been developed for separate product lines, and to integrate them into a content architecture to be implemented as part of a new content management system. An important result of the project was the recognition that the logistics (materials and equipment) and the marketing (energy and petroleum lifecycle) views needed to be reconciled and mapped to each other in order to solve the problem. Eleven taxonomy branches or facets were implemented as a result of the project: Product Groups; Tools; Oil, Gas and Chemicals; Organization; Challenges; Other Materials; Content Types; Locations; Health, Safety and Environment; Energy and Petroleum Lifecycle; and Business Processes.

Currently, user communities are being trained to tag content using the new taxonomy and the new content management system. Legacy and new content will be tagged with values from the taxonomy before it is published to specialist portals, extranets, and www sites. The taxonomy data for each piece of content will then be available to build the search indexes and the personalization entitlements for each portal. New interfaces and search tools that can take advantage of the taxonomy beginning to be used by Halliburton are beginning to be prototyped and tested.

More information:

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Motorola Semiconductor (now Freescale)

Motorola is a global leader in providing integrated communications and embedded electronic solutions. The Semiconductor Products Sector (SPS) is focused on developing proprietary, high value as opposed to commodity semiconductor products, and licensing intellectual property to strategic partners. To support design engineers, Motorola SPS developed a large extranet fed from various enterprise and documentation platforms using home-grown content management tools. Motorola SPS decided to migrate from its home-grown to a COTS content management system. The goal was to preserve the website user experience, while creating a new content model that could be applied to structured data from enterprise systems of record as well as less structured document-like content from product marketing.

Taxonomy Strategies worked with Motorola to take initial steps in the development of a new content architecture that untangles the metadata and taxonomies from the existing website user experience. We mapped attributes from existing content repositories into a common metadata specification, identified core metadata attributes for each content type included in the website, provided editorial rules for cleaning up existing collateral and product taxonomies, and prepared revised versions of the existing taxonomies by applying the editorial rules. In addition, we prepared a whitepaper with short and longer-term metadata and taxonomy recommendations to develop and support a content supply chain to support applications such as personalization and globalization with dynamically generated, targeted content.

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NASA

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is composed of 12 separate Centers that engage in a variety of technological activities with product lines that reflect their specialized work. Technical communities across the Agency utilize highly evolved engineering and scientific vocabularies that reflect the nature of their disciplines. These vocabularies are often arcane and not easily translated by personnel outside a particular community of practice. This situation has tended to fragment information produced by NASA personnel. The goal behind building and adopting an agency-wide NASA Taxonomy is to develop a consistent framework for handling NASA’s electronic content, and to make it easy for various audiences to find all the relevant information from all the NASA programs quickly.

Taxonomy Strategies worked with a group of NASA subject matter experts representing various constituencies including outreach, engineering, financial management, procurement, and scientific and technical information (STI). We used semi-structured interviews and analyzed collections of content to draft the top few levels of a NASA Taxonomy based on the content management methods and terminologies that we observed were currently in use. The top-level taxonomy was reviewed in an iterative process with stakeholders who responded to it in group meetings, via email, and in one-on-one conversations. The creation and validation of sub-trees and leaf nodes has been delegated to the subject matter specialists. Eleven taxonomy branches or facets were identified as a result of this project–Access Security Requirements, Audiences, Business Purpose, Competencies, Content Types, Industries, Instruments, Locations, Missions and Projects, Organizations, and Subject Categories–with content types identified as a key data driver. It turns out that content types or genres are a very important way that users segment their collections, or chunk larger content objects into smaller ones to support business functions and applications. Much work was done to adopt categories for standard genre and document types in the Information facet of the taxonomy so that users could start with a common understanding of what document frameworks they might be looking for and working with. The taxonomy also provides an exhaustive list of NASA missions and projects, as well as a three-level enterprise-wide organizational hierarchy which previously did not exist.

The NASA Taxonomy website was built to provide access to the taxonomy. The website is integrated with the FirstGov and Google to provide instant web search results. A metadata search and navigation application on a collection with a quarter of a million internal project and public documents from across the enterprise was built to demonstrate the benefits of using the NASA taxonomy. The completed taxonomy and its mapping to the Dublin Core metadata standard is meant to act as a classification scheme encompassing all of NASA Web content, including internal as well as external materials. The taxonomy will provide the framework for tagging NASA Web material so that they can be used and reused in different applications such as the NASA portal and its supporting systems, the NASA search engine, and the NASA Web Site Registration System.

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Oracle

Oracle set out to create a new experience for their community of developers to locate press releases and upcoming events based upon the member’s interests and how they chose to search. Part of this experience would include surfacing content that a user would not find through traditional search methods.

Taxonomy Strategies worked with product marketing managers and discussed various aspects of product lifecycle, marketing and their audiences. The end product was the development of facets that would provide the framework for the new search experience. Beyond products, facets were created to capture audiences, technologies, product families, industries, services and applications. While it is common to think of vocabularies and their hierarchical structures and relationships, the highlight of the facets developed for Oracle is their ability to use non-hierarchical references to make connections across facets (e.g., Oracle 10G is a Database Technology). As a result, users can discover content that they may not otherwise know exists.

Using Oracle Secure Enterprise Search, the facets became filters for a large content collection and users are now able to expand and narrow searches to find the content they are looking for and reveal buckets of similar content.

Oracle’s semantic websites:

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[image above:
Relationships among scientific paradigms. Research & Node Layout: Kevin Boyack and Dick Klavans (mapofscience.com); Data: Thompson ISI; Graphics & Typography: W. Bradford Paley (wbpaley.com/brad/); Commissioned: Katy Borner (scimaps.org) (farm1.static.flickr.com/82
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