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SKOSsy Dynamically Generates Thesauri: Automated Controlled Vocabularies A Real Possibility?

by Naresh Sarwan on December 2, 2011

SKOSsy is a SKOS (Simple Knowledge Organisation System) which generates thesauri dynamically in English and German.  SKOSsy uses DBPedia  which is an independent project to extract structured data from Wikipedia.  It’s important to point out that SKOSsy produces ‘seed’ thesauri which still will need some clearing up using a thesaurus editing tool like PoolParty.   Setting aside the fairly sketchy StarTrek references they’ve tried to create with the visual motif, it does look potentially interesting.  The process is described on this Semantic Web Company blog post:

SKOSsy generates SKOS based thesauri in German or in English for a domain you are interested in. Not any domain but nearly any: SKOSsy extracts data from DBpedia, so it can cover anything which is in DBpedia. Thus, SKOSsy works well whenever a first seed thesaurus should be generated for a certain organisation or project. If you load the automatically generated thesaurus into an editor like PoolParty Thesaurus Manager (PPT) you can start to enrich the knowledge model by additional concepts, relations and links to other LOD sources. But you don´t have to start in the open countryside with your thesaurus project.” [Read More]

We have talked about automated metadata and cataloguing before and generally have come down on the side of doing it properly with real human beings.  That said, it does look like tools such as SKOSsy might either take a lot of the manual labour involved in the process of controlled vocabulary development, or at least provide some counterpoint to a manually generated thesaurus that can highlight missing elements or other areas to think about.  Incrementally, these kinds of tools are going to become more popular and ultimately powerful as a result.  Providing end users treat them as ‘assistants’ or aides towards helping to complete metadata tasks then they could offer productivity enhancing benefits for those willing and able to invest the time into an in-depth investigation of them.

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