Dev meeting – 6th March 2020

Chris talked about a taxonomy management service that we’d created for a publisher. We created a system that allowed for a large number of taxonomies to be stored and updated, so they could be used by the client for categorizing their content. When a new version of a taxonomy arrived (for example a medical taxonomy like SNOMED-CT), then it would be stored inside the data store. We would often want to provide a subset of that taxonomy, because the ontologies were too large and sprawling to be useful to individual consumers.

Rich talked about SNOMED-CT; which is an ontology of medical terms. It describes tools, procedures, drugs, devices and many other things. It’s important that two different medical systems use the same terms for what they’re referring to, like “paracetamol”. By using the same identifier from SNOMED-CT for each, then it makes it easier to correlate the data between different systems.

Reece talked about a project for a customer that uses a financial ontology to manage financial documents. Those documents discuss a range of financial topics – so the system we developed uses the ontology to classify the sections within the document according to the terms matching those sections. Hence – the customer can find documents and sections within them that are relevant to the specific

We briefly discussed the differences between term lists, taxonomies, thesauri, and ontologies. Inigo expressed the heretical view that none of the definitions really matter.

We sometimes care about classifying content against geographical regions, and understanding the hierarchy of those regions. For example, we might classify a document as discussing a legal case based in Paris. However, the user is interested in legal cases of that sort occurring in the EU. Because our ontology provides information that Paris is in France, and that France is in the EU, then we should be able to provide that information to the user based on inferring this additional information for the document. Loic talked about this, and also about the need to make subsets of ontologies to a certain depth only – we don’t necessarily care about small villages, and may harm performance as well as providing false positives.

Nikolay talked about micro-frontends – a frontend composed of UIs provided from different servers. He talked about using view components in ASP.NET Core MVC, and how they allow you to compose the information displayed in a view in a slightly different way to using partials. This is done server-side. They retrieve their data via dependency injection – so the parent doesn’t need to change when the contained component changes. It helps you think in terms of features rather than pages.