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Enterprise Solutions Benefit from Integrated Taxonomies
Posted On November 1, 2003
Industry-specific taxonomies have become hot items in enterprise information environments in the last few years. Not very long ago (or so it seems), only my fellow librarians talked about and cared about taxonomies, subject headings, and categorization schemes, or industry thesauri. Now, as companies struggle to manage their intellectual capital and enable efficient information access to internal and external content, taxonomies are being sensibly integrated into information management solutions.

One just-announced agreement pairs Factiva's industry-specific taxonomies with K2 Enterprise, Verity's intellectual capital management software. Factiva is offering Verity customers its established general business taxonomy for companies, industries, regions, and subjects, as well as its specialized pharmaceutical and healthcare taxonomy (introduced in July 2003; see the NewsBreak at

Factiva Intelligent Indexing is a comprehensive taxonomy that's been created by experts over the last 20 years. It includes more than 300,000 companies, 750-plus industry terms, 370-plus region terms, and 430-plus subject terms.

Factiva Client Solutions, including its taxonomy specialists, will also be available to assist with Verity implementations. In addition, Verity customers will have access to Factiva's global content archive of more than 200 million documents from nearly 8,000 content sources. Each day, Factiva processes, categorizes, and stores more than 115,000 articles in multiple formats and languages.

"The combination of Factiva's taxonomy expertise, content, and client services with Verity's K2 Enterprise solution will give our joint customers a serious competitive advantage in their marketplace," said Clare Hart, president and CEO of Factiva. "Integrating one of Factiva's industry-specific taxonomies with Verity's comprehensive classification tools will add significant value to an enterprise's search and content organization."

Verity K2 Enterprise (K2E) integrates search, classification, and personalization capabilities for enterprise portals to uncover information and data residing in both internal and external content repositories.

"We believe that a pure automatic approach is not the optimal solution for solving an enterprise's content categorization challenges due to the ever-changing dynamic nature of enterprise data," said Anthony J. Bettencourt, Verity's president and CEO. "Business portals do not operate in a box. Flexibility and expertise are key. This partnership will provide our K2 Enterprise customers the flexibility to expand the content-organization capabilities in their application by using Verity's comprehensive classification technologies with Factiva's taxonomies and concept definitions that have been built, tested, and fine-tuned by highly respected taxonomy experts."

Verity's K2E had previously included a federated infrastructure capability that enabled customers to directly access other content sources, such as Factiva, Hoover's, Google, and others. In July 2002, I reported on Verity's partnership with LexisNexis ( The LexisNexis Content Organizer is an add-on product for K2E that combines LexisNexis' pre-built taxonomies and concept definitions with Verity K2E's classification capabilities. The LexisNexis deal with Verity is not exclusive, so LexisNexis could partner with other software vendors, if it wished.

A Verity representative confirmed that the company is giving its customers a choice. "Verity is proud to offer our global K2 Enterprise customers a comprehensive suite of taxonomies from both LexisNexis and Factiva. Verity's goal is that our partnerships with LexisNexis and Factiva will offer Verity K2 Enterprise's customers the flexibility to choose the taxonomies that fit their unique business models and requirements."

Factiva says its goal is "to work actively with the key categorization technology companies used by its global customer base."

Some companies in the enterprise content management and search space, such as Autonomy, offer tools for constructing and managing taxonomies but not a pre-built taxonomy solution. Autonomy also provides automatic taxonomy generation.

One company that's familiar to most serious searchers is Northern Light (NL), which is bouncing back since its repurchase at the Divine auction. (See the NewsBreak at Since its original founding in 1996, Northern Light has been known for its taxonomy and classification technology. The company employs search, classification, and content-integration technology and services to offer user-friendly search solutions for corporate clients.

Though it hasn't made an official announcement, the company, led again by CEO David Seuss, has released its Northern Light Enterprise Search Engine that it says offers performance, relevance, and "unparalleled scalability." With the search engine, the company provides its 17,000-node subject taxonomy, developed by its expert librarians, that is extensible and customizable. NL can also create vertical solutions and custom classification schemes.

Increasingly, companies are trying to make use of existing expertise and integrated solutions. Vendors that can offer modular, packaged integrated tools-that include taxonomies-with minimal implementation time and costs should be successful in this market.

Paula J. Hane is a freelance writer and editor covering the library and information industries. She was formerly Information Today, Inc.’s news bureau chief and editor of NewsBreaks.

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