PLM Data Tagging Is Getting Some Traction


Tagging is one of the most popular ways to classify information. Tagging became a mainstream way to classify information in almost every web application these days. Initially introduced on photo sharing websites, tagging expanded almost everywhere. Tagging is an important feature of every “Web 2.0” solution. You can read more on wikipedia here. Here is snippet of definition.

Labeling and tagging are carried out to perform functions such as aiding in classification, marking ownership, noting boundaries, and indicating online identity. They may take the form of words, images, or other identifying marks. An analogous example of tags in the physical world is museum object tagging. In the organization of information and objects, the use of textual keywords as part of identification and classification long predates computers. However, computer based searching made the use of keywords a rapid way of exploring records.

I can divide tagging solution into two separate groups – automatic (machine) tagging and user-driven or collaborative tagging. The second one became popular on the web and called “folksonomy“. Opposite of predefined classification (taxonomy), folksonomy is a collaborative way to classify information mostly in social and web applications.

A folksonomy is a system of classification derived from the practice and method of collaboratively creating and managing tags to annotate and categorize content;[1][2] this practice is also known ascollaborative tagging,[3] social classification, social indexing, and social tagging…. [S]ome of the characteristics of folksonomies by identifying two types: broad and narrow. A broad folksonomy is one in which multiple users tag particular content with a variety of terms from a variety of vocabularies, thus creating a greater amount of metadata for that content. A narrow folksonomy, on the other hand, occurs when a few users, primarily the content creator, tag an object with a limited number of terms.

Classification is an important element of every data management and information solution. PLM/PDM systems are (obviously) included. In my view, tagging can reduce the complexity of information search and discovery. I’ve been pitching “Tagging” as an innovative way to simplify data access in PLM systems. Navigate to my historical blog from 2009 – How Tagging can prevent PLM from a Compulsive Obsessive Disorder Problem?

Until now, I haven’t heard about any implementation of tagging in PLM systems. Earlier today, I was reading CIMdata update about Dassault Enovia products – ENOVIA Product Update: A CIMdata Highlight. One of the snippet of this publication referenced to a new solution produced by Dassault – IFWE Compass. Here is a passage speaking about “automatic tagging solution”:

The IFWE Compass user interface—This new face of the 3DEXPERIENCE platform was shown briefly at the June Industry Analyst event, but this daylong session allowed us to see it support many more use cases. The automatic tagging and indexing of all managed information (called 6W) should provide significant benefits downstream. This tagging approach is not seen in offerings from other PLM solution providers.

What is my conclusion? Despite visible simplicity, tagging is hard task to accomplish. It required significant amount of data processing, computational power and sophisticated algorithms. It is hard to get it done automatically and it requires specific “collaborative” effort to apply it in a “folksonmical” way. My hunch Dassault acquired tagging technology from the acquisition of search vendor Exalead few years ago. The precision of tagging (especially when it done automatically) is a key. So, it would be very interesting to see implementation of this solution in a specific customer data corpus. Just my thoughts…

Best, Oleg


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