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Levels of Order in a Chaotic World: Using Verity's Intelligent Classifier to Create a Corporate Taxonomy for an Intranet Search Engine
Saturday, 5:40 - 6:00
Session Three


Alexandra M. Proserpio
Levels of Order in a Chaotic World: Using Verity's Intelligent Classifier to Create a Corporate Taxonomy for an Intranet Search Engine
Alexandra M. Proserpio, Technical Library & Strategic Web Information Framework & Technology, Sandia National Laboratories

Sandia National Laboratories' inception of the Verity intranet search engine has not met users expectations. Users have complained the search engine is not an effective tool in searching the Labs approximately 150,000 plus web pages. The search results, based on full-text indexing, produce too many hits. In addition, these results are often too broad for users to sift through, understand or use. One of the issues contributing to the poor results has been the inconsistent application of standards (e.g., metadata and information structure) to the extensive number of pages on the corporate intranet. We believe categorized results, based on a corporate information taxonomy, coupled with improved application of standards will yield a marked improvement for users seeking information on the Sandia National Laboratories corporate intranet.

In an attempt to enhance the search engine's search results and its use, the Technical Library's staff developed and implemented a subject-based categorization for the search engine using Verity's Intelligent Classifier software. Over a 6 month period, a team of four information professionals and one programmer analyzed and categorized external and internal web collections (approximately 150K web pages), developing a corporate information taxonomy. There were numerous challenges faced by the team, including: different styles in categorizing highly technical content, administrative deadlines, underestimating the magnitude of the project, and addressing information issues out of the scope of the project (e.g. limitations of the Verity spider), etc. This new corporate taxonomy is due to rollout in January 2003.

Issues:
* Each team member's style differed based on their understanding and analysis of the content.
* Establishing a taxonomy in a corporate culture that does not emphasis standards for metadata or web-posted information.
* Learning new tools, from the ground up. Migrating to new versions of the tool. Limitations of the tools.
* Weaving existing small-scale taxonomies and subject-categorizations of corporate information into the new, large-scale taxonomy.
* Deciding how far down to develop a taxonomy that is built on a dynamic content base.
* Promoting the work of the information architects on this project.
* How to improve the information culture of the corporation in a positive way.

Results: (To be announced. In order to conduct relevant usability analyses, we intend to conduct focus groups, track metrics, and solicit feedback from users on a regular basis.

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