Content Services

Content Enrichment for Enterprise Search

Using Smartlogic Semaphore for developing and applying consistent metadata

The New York Power Authority (NYPA), officially the Power Authority of the State of New York, is the largest state public power organization in the United States. NYPA operates 16 electricity generation facilities and more than 1,400 circuit-miles of transmission lines.


Iknow started the assignment by developing a NYPA-specific enterprise-wide taxonomy. Specifically, Iknow worked with NYPA’s staff to develop an enterprise subject taxonomy by using a combination of techniques, such as a review of prior internal classification schemes, an assessment of relevant external taxonomies, and the analysis of user search logs.

A second important work stream was user interface development. Iknow worked with the NYPA staff to understand their business-driven use cases and search requirements. Based on these findings, Iknow developed wireframe concepts for the presentation of various types of search results.

Iknow recommended the purchase of Smartlogic’s Semaphore suite of metadata management software products. Iknow and Smartlogic implemented the software suite to apply the new taxonomy in sophisticated autoclassification functionality to achieve more consistent content categorization and metadata tagging. Iknow also leveraged Semaphore’s ontology management and search enhancement features to offer NYPA users improved search relevancy and the ability to discover related content.

Iknow worked collaboratively with the NYPA staff in content management, IT, and several business functions to define the overall solution architecture, which included defining the business process workflows and the technical infrastructure requirements for metadata enhancement and autoclassification.

The new enterprise metadata management and search solution was implemented in NYPA’s software development and production environments.

Lastly, Iknow provided training for NYPA staff so that they could maintain the enterprise search and taxonomy platform in the future. The training included the installation and configuration of the Smartlogic Semaphore software and the development of the autoclassification rules.


NYPA launched the improved search functionality and users saw significant improvement in the quality of the search results. NYPA plans to extend the content enrichment and search experience to other internal content repositories in the future.

Project Summary No.

Taxonomy Development for the United Nations

Improving content findability to support the UN’s sustainable development goals

The United Nations University (UNU) was tasked with building a Global Online Knowledge Platform to support efforts to end forced labor, modern slavery, human trafficking, and child labor by 2030, as defined in Target 8.7 of the UN Sustainable Development Goals. The initiative was funded by several organizations, including the United Nations Development Program (UNDP).


Iknow’s approach to the taxonomy development effort consisted of the following three phases.

1. Defining the Objectives. Iknow clearly defined the objectives and search use cases for the new taxonomy. The UNU taxonomy was intended to support:

  • Thematic area pages
  • Search refiners (faceted browsing of search results)
  • Links to other relevant content from each page
  • Interfacing to other sites and data repositories dealing with humanitarian issues (using standard taxonomies to facilitate this, such as the HXL term set).

The taxonomy also needed to support longer-term content management. As the number of site items (e.g., blog posts, datasets, articles, etc.) increases in the future, UNU needs to be able to review the accumulated content by topic area to ensure it is highlighting the most important content and archiving anything that’s outdated.

2. Developing the Taxonomy. Iknow identified the taxonomy terms and created the new taxonomy. As with other taxonomy development projects, Iknow focused on key usage questions in order to develop the best set of terms. Specific usage questions included:

  • How does UNU expect users to search and browse the content? What are the main concepts they will search for?
  • How does UNU organize content internally? (e.g., Are folders set up for specific topics or other categories?)
  • How do related organizations categorize content in these topic areas (especially if UNU may want to share data or documents with them)?

Iknow held a series of meetings with UNU project leaders to answer these questions and to jointly develop a taxonomy that was as simple and concise as possible, while allowing effective search refinement, browsing, and information exchange.

This work resulted in a five-facet taxonomy structure, with up to three levels of hierarchy for the terms in each facet. The five taxonomy branches were:

  1. Policy areas, e.g., migration and displacement
  2. Types of exploitation, e.g., modern slavery
  3. Regions/countries, focusing on countries that are active in the UN’s 8.7 initiatives
  4. Organizations (UN and other agencies that do field operational work and other organizations that are data sources or contributors to the site)
  5. Industry sectors, focusing on those where exploitation is most serious, e.g., mining.

3. Implementation. After approval of the draft taxonomy, Iknow translated the term set into a structured XML file, which was used in the technology platform.


Iknow’s work was well received by the client and main contractor, and full implementation of the Knowledge Platform is now in progress.

Project Summary No.

Taxonomy and Governance Support

Updating an organization’s ontology and business rules for autoclassification

On a previous assignment for the New York Power Authority (NYPA), Iknow assisted with the development of an enterprise taxonomy and improvements in the enterprise search capability. The assignment incorporated Smartlogic Semaphore tools for ontology management and auto-classification, SharePoint 2013 search tools, and Semaphore web parts.


Iknow’s project approach involved four major phases of work.

  1. Initial Taxonomy Review. Iknow reviewed user feedback on the current enterprise taxonomy as well as new requirements developed by the KM team since the close of the earlier project. These requirements were focused on the need for a more detailed technical vocabulary for describing specific expertise and lessons learned, especially in the generating plant environment. Iknow performed a draft manual classification of the new content, and then implemented the draft taxonomy updates and additions ready for review by NYPA subject matter experts (SMEs).
  2. Trial auto-classification of new content. As a way of testing the new ontology and rules, Iknow ran a trial auto-classification of the best practice/lessons learned content and expertise records. This was used to refine the ontology (especially alternative labels and other evidence values) and the rules as necessary.
  3. Initiation of the new ontology governance process. Iknow assisted NYPA with the preparation and execution of the new governance model, especially the review sessions with SMEs from each NYPA department. These sessions were used to discuss and get approval for recommended taxonomy changes as well as to review autoclassification results to identify any areas of systematic over-tagging or under-tagging and develop strategies to correct them.
  4. Bulk re-classification of enterprise content based on the updated taxonomy and rules set. As in the previous project, Iknow assisted with the planning and initiation of the bulk re-classification jobs, as well as conducting a final review of results.

Iknow worked with the NYPA KM team to complete the four tasks listed above. From the initial taxonomy of about 1,100 terms, over 1,000 updates were made, including hierarchy and grouping changes, synonym and acronym changes, and the addition of 380 new terms for more specific concepts that were shown to be useful for searching. The changes were made during the course of multiple SME and KM team reviews, search simulations, and classification tests. The governance procedures developed in the previous project were utilized, including compilation of candidate term lists, group reviews, updates in the development environment, and testing.

The latest taxonomy enrichment will result in further improvements in the precision and recall of NYPA’s enterprise search tools, as well as enhanced browsing and content discovery for users.

Project Summary No.

Taxonomy Workshop

Providing deep subject matter expertise to an experienced KM team

A leading pharmaceutical company's manufacturing division is responsible for formulating, packaging, and distributing products to more than 140 markets around the world.


The objectives of the taxonomy workshop were to provide:

  • A critique of the division’s current taxonomy development roadmap,
  • Guidance on creating a forward-looking taxonomy, and
  • Best practices for classifying content in the pharmaceutical industry.

Preparation for the workshop started several weeks prior to the workshop date. Iknow’s initial step was to prepare and submit a data request for information about the company’s existing taxonomies, its taxonomy development plans, and use of text mining and autoclassification tools. The pharmaceutical company provided the information. In all, Iknow reviewed over a dozen documents, including:

  • Current-state assessment of the division’s taxonomy development,
  • Description of the major taxonomy-related initiatives for the past five years,
  • The company's future-state vision for a new knowledge management KM platform, and
  • Requirements documentation on the future-state KM platform.

Iknow then identified several of the division's KM team members for interviews, development a detailed interview guide, and scheduled and conducted telephone interviews to ask questions about the information in the initial data request and to gather additional information. Specifically, the interviews provided further insights about the KM landscape, user satisfaction with the current KM platform, and potential opportunities for improvement.

Based on the initial data request and the findings from the interviews, Iknow drafted an agenda for the taxonomy workshop. The agenda included the following topics:

  • Assessment of the existing taxonomies
  • Methodology for taxonomy creation and application, including a number of “deep dives” into the following practical aspects:
    • How to apply text analysis to identify terms and concepts to include in the taxonomy
    • How to harmonize taxonomies created by disparate business units, functions, and departments
    • How to merge repositories that contain similar document types and subject matter
    • How to apply new taxonomy terms to existing content
    • How to integrate existing enterprise data into the knowledge management platform
    • How to perform autoclassification incorporating taxonomy and ontology models.
  • Next steps

After a few refinements to the agenda and subsequent signoff, Iknow developed the workshop presentation materials and several case study examples.

Iknow delivered the half-day workshop to the manufacturing division's KM team and other key staff. The workshop was engaging and highly interactive. The staff benefitted from seeing actual taxonomies and taxonomy-embedded applications developed by Iknow for other Iknow clients.

In addition to the workshop, Iknow prepared a sixty-page written summary report. The summary document contained highlights from the workshop, a taxonomy development roadmap, and next steps.


The workshop resulted in a set of prioritized projects designed to accelerate the company’s taxonomy development process and a set of recommendations to enhance content findability and discoverability. The workshop taught the KM team how to create a useful taxonomy. The KM team also learned how to perform text mining and clustering to understand the contents of a repository.

Based on Iknow’s expertise demonstrated during the workshop, the KM head asked Iknow to support the development of an upgraded taxonomy and the incorporation of the taxonomy in autoclassification and faceted search applications.

Project Summary No.

Institutional Memory

Institutional memory is an approach for developing the comprehensive “story” of an organization. The approach emphasizes the connections between significant events, decisions, milestones, projects, and other key actions and how they relate to, or support, broad strategic and organizational themes.

Business Value

Institutional memory programs can greatly enhance the engagement of staff by providing them with a stronger connection to the organization, its thinking, and its progress. Institutional memory programs also enhance organizational and cultural alignment over the long term.


Iknow’s deliverables include the strategy and executional support of all aspects of an institutional memory program. The deliverables can range from the development of the integrated story and associated content to the production of this content in a variety of multimedia formats.

Enterprise Search Strategy

Leveraging Enterprise Search to Improve Productivity and Profitability

A small, specialized consulting firm provides consulting services primarily to the U.S. military and to the defense contractor industry. Their consulting staff consists of retired senior military or civilian professionals, each with over 25 years of experience, covering a broad cross-section of acquisition, technical, and management disciplines. Most of their consultants have held senior-level government positions, such as Program Executive Officer, Program Director, Product and Logistics Center Commander, Chief Engineer, Chief of Contracting, and Chief of Financial Management.


Iknow approached the problem in three steps:

  1. Current-State Assessment. Iknow comprehensively analyzed the firm’s environment from the perspectives of people, process, technology, and culture, and developed a current-state snapshot, or baseline, to characterize its operations. The team studied several core processes, including project delivery and business development. Iknow conducted interviews with the firm’s employees and reviewed the available tools, checklists, and other resources used by the consultants and support staff.
  2. Recommendations. Iknow distilled the research and interviews and developed specific and actionable improvement recommendations. We also created a knowledge management strategic roadmap and implementation plan, complete with milestones and resource requirements.
  3. Board of Directors Presentation and Approval. Iknow presented the findings from the baseline assessment and the improvement recommendations to the firm’s board of directors and other senior staff to gain approval for implementation.

One of Iknow’s recommendations was that the firm needed to invest the time and resources necessary for capturing, storing, organizing, and sharing the company’s existing knowledge and intellectual capital. Another important recommendation was to implement an enterprise search strategy. In the short term, Iknow’s search strategy included:

  • Purchase and implement an enterprise search software tool. The search software would index the firm’s existing content and make it available across the organization. Restrictions and access safeguards would be implemented to protect sensitive and proprietary data.
  • Begin a knowledge-capture effort. The purpose of this activity would be to identify and capture the firm’s highest-value knowledge assets. This activity would allow the firm’s consultants to submit knowledge at any time and from any location to designated knowledge managers.

The consulting firm now had a set of knowledge management-related improvement recommendations and a business case that would yield both quantitative and qualitative benefits. The quantitative benefits included improvements in business and operational measures such as shorter response times, more effective business processes, greater insight into business financials and planning projections, lower overheads and other operating costs, and higher proposal win rates. The qualitative benefits included greater consultant self-sufficiency, higher quality outputs and deliverables, and increased consultant learning.

The company also had a detailed roadmap for immediately implementing the enterprise search and desktop search products.

Project Summary No.

Knowledge Capture and Representation

Knowledge capture is the process of gathering, collecting, and codifying an organization’s knowledge and know-how so that it can be stored, shared, reused, and leveraged. With the increasing importance of intellectual assets relative to physical and financial assets, most organizations have begun to actively focus on managing their knowledge capital.

Business Value

Knowledge capture and representation processes are often the highest value-added activities in a broad knowledge management program because core business process maps, critical business rules and decision logic, lessons learned, and other types of operational expertise held by a small number of internal experts tend to be the organization’s key knowledge assets.


Iknow provides recommendations on the optimal approaches for capturing different kinds of knowledge and on the best way to represent the knowledge for long-term preservation. We can also recommend technology solutions to facilitate knowledge capture and ensure that it’s accomplished as efficiently and cost effectively as possible.

Iknow can organize, facilitate, and lead knowledge capture and representation initiatives and deliver well-designed and complete knowledge bases.

Findability and Search

Findability is the art and science of making information easily retrievable within content management systems, digital asset management systems, databases, and on complex websites and portals. The objective of findability is to deliver the right content to users when they need it with the least amount of effort and frustration.

Business Value

Improvements in findability and search allow users to efficiently and intuitively find the exact content they want when they need it. Better search increases employee productivity, improves the quality of decision making, and reduces the frustration from a poorly designed and implemented search application.


Iknow delivers configured and optimized enterprise search systems. These systems typically include carefully configured user interfaces that provide an optimal user experience.

Taxonomy and Metadata Development

The primary functional need in today’s electronic information environments is providing effective and easy-to-use methods that enable users to find, navigate, and use content.

Business Value

Taxonomies and metadata, when properly implemented within a client’s ECM, DAM, or enterprise search system, improve the ability to find relevant content quickly. Specifically, taxonomies and metadata support filters, facets, browse, and other types of advanced search functionality.


Iknow delivers custom taxonomies and metadata schemas/models that are handcrafted to our clients’ unique environments.

Much of our work in taxonomy and metadata development takes place in the context of larger knowledge management engagements. On these assignments, Iknow delivers not only a customized taxonomy but a completed enterprise content management (ECM) or digital asset management (DAM) system that incorporates the taxonomy and metadata for asset tagging.

Content Migration and Enrichment

A common challenge in most knowledge management initiatives is the migration of digital content from legacy repositories into a newly launched, enterprise content management (ECM) or digital asset management (DAM) system. Because of the large numbers of assets in legacy repositories and databases, this activity can often be one of the most costly and time-consuming parts of a KM system implementation.

Business Value

Content cleansing, consolidation, and migration help organizations better manage their content and lower storage and related software costs. Content enrichment, when combined with enhancements to enterprise search software, greatly improves the findability of digital assets.


Iknow’s deliverables from Content Migration and Enrichment projects typically include:

  • A content migration plan, including recommended tools used to execute the migration.
  • A content enrichment plan.
  • Implementation assistance for performing content migration and content enrichment tasks.