Dec 312013
Default search results

Default search results using faceted search

In my upcoming publication Knowledge Management in Practice I detail search in a chapter called “Dude Where’s my Car: Utilizing Search in KM”. At the KM World Taxonomy Boot Camp I spoke about Utilizing Ontologies for Taxonomy & Content Organization and during this discussion there were questions concerning faceted search. Before the year ends (literally) I wanted to provide some details concerning faceted search.

Faceted search

Faceted search offers remarkable potential for putting the search experience in the hands of the user. It provides a flexible framework by which users can satisfy a wide variety of information needs, ranging from simple look up and fact retrieval to complex exploratory search and discovery scenarios.

With faceting, search results are grouped under useful headings, using tags you apply ahead of time to the documents in your index. For example, the results of a shopping query for books might be grouped according to the type of book and the price.

Each time the user clicks a facet value, the set of results is reduced to only the items that have that value. Additional clicks continue to narrow down the search — the previous facet values are remembered and applied again.

Faceted search results provide an easy-to-scan, browse and display that helps users quickly narrow down each search. The faceting tags that you store with your documents provide a way to add your own taxonomy to directly control the presentation of search results. In the end, it’s about helping the user find the right information. Faceted search gives a user the power to create an individualized navigation path, drilling down through successive refinements to reach the right document. This more effectively mirrors the intuitive thought patterns of most users. Faceted search has become an expected feature, particularly for commerce sites.

However, before you get too deep into the intricacies of faceted search, it is extremely important that you develop use cases or user stories around your search scenarios mentioned earlier. A great way to get started is to identify the main concepts you would like to search (people, reports, policies, etc.); next create logical categories (start by building or leveraging a taxonomy) for each group (Engineers, Executives, Administrators, etc.) a card sort exercise will be helpful here, and finally create (or use a current) information/content model showing relationships and considering navigation paths.

This will put you on a path to realizing the benefits of faceted search!

Nov 302012

KM PortalOnce you have deployed your Knowledge Portal or Knowledge Management (KM) System’s taxonomy, controlled vocabulary, information architecture, achieved initial search engine optimization (SEO), and deployed to your users, you’re done! Hold on… You’re not done yet! As a matter of fact you have just begun! Now you must execute your strategy on how you will maintain the knowledge portal’s taxonomy and its underlining taxonomy infrastructure.

In your Knowledge Management Strategy, indicating how your organization will maintain the underlining taxonomy infrastructure, which involves the requirements, and tools, will be essential to the ongoing success of the Knowledge Portal (KM System). When you think of what requirements are needed consider the following:

  • How easily and can categories added, edited, or deleted?
  • How easily and can relationship types and relationships between your knowledge and its associated content be defined, edited, or deleted?
  •  Does a change propagate to all instances?
  •  What users and their permissions need to be established on an ongoing basis?
  •  Determine what assignment or modification of privileges to one or a group of items is needed?
  •  Taxonomy Governance requirements (approval, new, change, etc. workflows that maybe needed or modified)
  •  Metadata/Controlled Vocabulary requirements (assign attributes to a category, associate controlled vocabulary with metadata field, and thesaurus capabilities)

In determining what tools you should utilize to assist in managing your taxonomy infrastructure consider the following:

  • Tools that have Taxonomy Development capabilities, which include establishing user roles and permissions
  • Tools that have Taxonomy Maintenance capabilities, which include adding, editing, moving, and deleting items
  • Tools that have the ability to assign or modify privileges to one or a group of items
  • Tools that have Taxonomy Governance, which lends itself to the development and maintenance of workflows for knowledge content
  • Tools that have Metadata Controlled Vocabulary, which includes assigning attributes to a category and associating controlled vocabulary with metadata fields as well as Thesaurus capabilities
  • Tools that have custom reporting capabilities
  • Tools that have application integration APIs (WSDL, Scripts, etc.)

Below is a table containing some of the most widely used taxonomy/controlled vocabulary tools in currently use. I would encourage you to contact these vendors and also refer to the latest Gartner, and Forrester analysis before you decide to bring a vendor in for further discussion.


Taxonomy Tool


Apelon Distributed Terminology System (DTS)








SAS Ontology Management




Semaphore Ontology Manager




WordMap Designer








Intelligent Topic Manager




SharePoint Information Architect


Mar 202011

km toolsContinuing our conversation about building a better search using taxonomies, ontologies, content types, and metadata; the following represents a few tools to consider if we every hope to not only find information on our knowledge repositories but to provide solutions to our inquiries.

Knowledge Management Suite for SharePoint 2010 from Layre2 is focused on improved content tagging and discovery. Although this product has not been rated with any reviews it promises to deliver many features that a taxonomy structure will be able to take advantage of. These features include:

  • Tag Suggester: While tagging an item or document, display a suggestion list based on given Term Store taxonomies, tagging rules, item properties, context and document content.
  • Auto Tagger: Tag items and documents in background without any user interaction, based on given Term Store taxonomies, tagging rules, item properties, context and document content. Auto Tagger could be helpful for initial tagging, e.g. after content migration from any system to SharePoint 2010, as well as for daily background operation.
  • Taxonomy Manager: Manage the Term Store with additional managed metadata properties (e.g. tagging rules, related tags), export and import, change management, workflows.
  • Tag Navigation Web Part: Provides collaborative tagging by using the SharePoint 2010 managed metadata taxonomy tree directly for content discovery and navigation.
  • Tag Directory Web Part: Render the SharePoint 2010 managed metadata taxonomy tree as flat A-Z directory category index directly for content discovery and navigation.
  • Tag Cloud Web Part: Navigate the content by its importance using a familiar taxonomy-based tag cloud.
  • Related Content Web Part: Automatically display related content in a given context using managed metadata.

By the way Layre2 provides shareware (free) version of there Knowledge Management Suite.

Word Map Taxonomy Management Software
Wordmap’s software enables organizations to develop classification schemes or taxonomies, upload and store documents by reference to them, then publish rich information resources for their users to search and navigate. Using taxonomies and classification schemes enables the Taxonomy Management Software to provide structured to content enabling precise and relevant answers to searches quickly. Some World Map Taxonomy Software clients include AstraZeneca and the Harvard Business School. The complete product set can be deployed standalone – or easily integrated to improve the performance and consistency of existing systems. Learn more about the Word Map Search Integration Framework and how it connects enterprise applications such as SharePoint & Endeca to centralized taxonomy management.

Data Harmony: Expert Knowledge Management with Powerful Semantic Tools and Intelligent Design
Data Harmony software indicates that it provides knowledge management solutions to organize your information resources by applying a taxonomy/thesaurus structure. Data Harmony’s software tools enable you to construct a logical framework of topics, reflecting the vocabulary of your business or subject area – and then apply these topic terms to your resources precisely and consistently.

Data Harmony tools include:

  • Thesaurus Master – Taxonomy and thesaurus construction and management
  • M.A.I. (Machine Aided Indexer) – Automatic indexing or editorial aid in indexing
  • MAIstro™ – Combine Thesaurus Master and M.A.I. for maximum efficiency in both automatic indexing and taxonomy construction
  • Additional Knowledge Management Tools – supplement the abilities of these primary products for even greater power in knowledge management.
  • Integrates with numerous content management systems, including Microsoft SharePoint
  • Exports taxonomy files in XML, OWL, SKOS, and 11 other formats
  • Handles taxonomies in virtually all languages
  • Uses concept categorization for precise tagging and smarter search

Smart Logic provides an ontology software tool to build and manage complex ontologies. This software package is their Ontology Manager: The tool is designed for anyone with a basic knowledge of taxonomies and information science to develop ‘models’. A business analyst can use the tool to assist in the process of building a model. For Information Scientists and Information Architects, the tool conforms to industry standards and has the flexibility and functionality they need to develop complex models.

Some of the features include:

  • Creates the model of links and structure between language elements that can drive a new user experience
  • Holds any term ‘metadata’ to drive or enhance connected applications.
  • Ontology Manager is designed to allow multiple users to create, enhance and browse several types of semantic model which include Lists, Controlled vocabularies, Taxonomies, Thesauri and Ontologies.

If anyone has experience with any of these or other tools I would like to hear more from you!

Mar 012011
dude wheres my car searchHave you ever experienced a situation when your search just did not return that document on your content management system you were looking for? You may have known part of the title or what some of the contents were but you couldn’t put your finger on it. You executed the latest search mechanisms on the site and you had to weed through several pages of content searching for that elusive piece of information. Then finally after a period of time (who knows how long) you either find it (OH Yea!) or give up in frustration (@%#&#^#).

A possible cure for your dilemma, as well as mine and countless others, is to implement a taxonomy and/or ontology into the information architecture of your intranet, SharePoint, or other orgainizational content management/knowledge repository. You now may be asking yourself, what in the world is a taxonomy? Or ontology?

Taxonomy and ontology explained

Simply put, a taxonomy is a hierarchical classification or framework for information retrieval. Ontology is a classification/specification of concepts (see more on ontology). For you SharePoint users out there, leveraging Content Types and Metadata along with a solid taxonomy will greatly enhance your search to return what you are looking for, while leveraging an ontology will provide another level of search accuracy – leveraging concepts, or conceptual searching. Taxonomies are the basis of classfication schemes and indexing systems in information management (see more on taxonomy).

There are many tools and possible solutions available to solve our search dilemma. Therefore, over the next few weeks I will be looking into the various solutions and finding out what folks are doing to address our search dilemma. So, once and for all we can answer the question: Dude Wher’s My Car?