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I spoke with Lowell Anderson, VP of Marketing of SchemaLogic today. He called me because my book talks about a couple of their clients. Here’s what I learned:

SL helps companies figure out how their various knowledge silos connect by building ontologies that express the relationships among the terms they use. Thesauruses identify synonyms so people can continue using their accustomed vocabularies. SL thinks in RDF but end up exporting to non-RDF XML frequently in order to support applications such as Sharepoint.

They like to start with publicly-available ontologies and then enable the client to customize. Or, they’ll start with any existing taxonomies. For example, the Associated Press had 40-50K words in their standard vocabulary. SL sucked it into their system and then provided the tools by which “subject-matter experts” (e.g., editors) could identify weaknesses (using a graphical view) and make changes. Changes that affect another experts’ domain, even by linking to it, require permission from the other expert. The permission management system is configurable to each client’s needs and is one of the key advantages of the SL system.

SL provides no tagging tools for users and readers. It is a top-down system. Compared to the systems or lack of systems it replaces, however, it looks wild and loose. For example, the International Press Telecommunications Council had a complex taxonomy of topics (which I discuss less than enthusiastically in my book) that it stored in an Excel spreadsheet. The new ontology includes many more relationships. And at the AP, although editors have to fill in change request forms and get permission from other editors, the old process had a central committee making all decisions. From my point of  view, ontologies capture lots of information. They of course don’t capture all information. Bottom up adds information well. Fortunately, there’s plenty of room for it all in the gigantic miscellaneous pile.

2 Responses to “SchemaLogic”

  1. on 09 Aug 2007 at 9:06 pmkm4

    David, did you check the bio and industry experience of Lowell Anderson, VP of Marketing for SchemaLogic. This guy doesn’t know the difference between a taxonomy and ontology.

    Moreover, Schemalogic claims to to do business semantics but if you look under the covers their proprietary software has really nothing to do with semantics ( e.g. the interrelationships and meaning of objects using conceptual models and logical theory )

    Schemalogic is just glorified and overpriced software that uses syntactics ( relational XML model using controlled vocabularies ) combined with structural interoperability ( thesaurus, XML schema ).

    Top down rigid taxomonies is really all they provide with some very lame change control and there are much better and more affordable solutions.

  2. on 23 Aug 2007 at 3:46 amClifford Burroughs

    And those much better and more affordable are?