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Tantalizing Taxonomies

This article appears in the issue April 2007 [Volume 16, Issue 4]


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Information architecture, content management and taxonomy consultancy Earley & Associates has announced its acquisition of Wordmap, a vendor of enterprise taxonomy management software, for an undisclosed sum.

Seth Earley, prinicipal of Earley & Associates, reports, “For some time we have seen Wordmap as a point of technical excellence in this field. Earley & Associates can strengthen that capability with the knowledge and experience we have of designing
and compiling taxonomies. Making taxonomies operational in content management and search is a focus for our firm, and we look forward to working with existing Wordmap customers, as well as other large enterprises looking for a holistic approach to taxonomy—a solution rather than just a product.”

Bill Hutchison, Wordmap CEO, comments, “This is a very exciting opportunity for Wordmap to make the most of its innovative technologies. Our colleagues at Earley & Associates will allow us to bring together an outstanding software product with some of the best taxonomy consulting skills in the market, and these will complement each other and help our customers achieve a much better result, more quickly. Taxonomy is about much more than technology, and we think that we now have the mix of software and skills to make taxonomy work for the enterprise.”

Earley adds, “An interesting aspect of the Wordmap suite that differentiates it from many products on the market is the integration with content tagging and search. After all is said and done, taxonomies are only useful if they are presented to the user in a meaningful way. Wordmap modules have the ability to do that without a lot of API level coding. The tagging module overcomes many limitations of content management tools in presenting and applying taxonomies for tagging. The navigation module is an easy way to add faceted search (also called guided navigation) without having to acquire additional faceted search tools. In these ways, Wordmap adds value to existing search and content management environments.”

Earley & Associates will still focus on solving customer problems and not just selling them a tool, according to Earley. “If the tool is appropriate, then there is a terrific synergy,” he says. “But no tool is appropriate for every circumstance, so we intend to remain a consulting firm and bring in Wordmap as appropriate.”

Wordmap will continue to develop and support the Wordmap range of products, which now includes:

  • Wordmap Designer—a system dedicated to the management of enterprise taxonomies.
  • Wordmap Content Tagger—a bridge between the taxonomy and the enterprise’s content management systems; supports detailed tagging of documents by reference to the taxonomy as they are uploaded into third-party repositories.
  • Wordmap Intelligent Text Classifier—an advanced statistical text classifier based on Support Vector Machine algorithms.
  • Wordmap Navigator—a tool that takes published taxonomies from Wordmap Designer and converts them into HTML browsing interfaces.  


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