About me

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I’m Fran Alexander. I am currently living in Montreal and working as an information architect, specialising in semantic search and Linked Data. From 2009-13 I was Taxonomy Manager for the BBC Archives. I began my career in the early 1990s as an editor of reference books and online resources, and went on to manage information architecture and digitisation projects. I was awarded a Masters of Research degree at University College London for my study of politics and objectivity in taxonomy work.

To read more about my current work and career history, you can find me on LinkedIn. I am also on Twitter @frangle.

5 thoughts on “About me”

  1. Dear Fran,
    The Internet has transformed how we communicate with the public, but there are still many challenges in making information easy to find. Since you cover information retrieval in VocabControl, I thought you might be interested in a study that my nonprofit published this summer about how people find information online. The study covers three groups: non-profit organizations and cities; web designers and firms; and the general public.
    The study was fascinating on a number of levels, and I invite you to read the executive summary or download a PDF of the findings at http://www.idea.org/find-information.html .
    The survey results sparked ideas about tools we could provide that might make finding information online easier. This fall, we will start beta testing a cool new new navigational tool. I don’t have your email, so if you are interested, you can sign up for our beta here: http://www.spicynodes.org/ or to stay abreast of our (very) occasional new projects, you can get our newsletter here: http://www.idea.org/newsletter.html

  2. Fran says:

    Thank you for bringing this to my attention. It looks like you are doing some really interesting work!

  3. Sepehr Sajadian says:

    Dear Fran,
    My name is Sepehr and currently I am a student of the Sir John Cass Business School, City University London.
    I am doing a research on the use of tagging and folksonomies in a business framework. This is about taking advantages of opportunities in the world of business by the use of folksonomies.
    So far, I have come a cross a cirical point that, although this trend is useful, it can not be efiiciently used in a complicated business format.
    I was woundering whether you have any thoughts about the use of folksonomies in a more professional matter rather than just using it in on a website to see consumer’s preferences.

    Kind Regards.


  4. Fran says:

    Hi Sepehr

    I presume you have read my short article on the subject:


    Here’s some other things I like to mention:

    I’d also say that the trouble is that folksonomies expand, coalesce and collapse into taxonomies in the end. If they are to be effective – rather than just cheap – they need to do this – and either become self-policing or very frustrating.

    Once everything has been tagged with every term associated with every viewpoint, nothing might as well have been tagged at all.

    Folksonomies, just as much as taxonomies, represent a process of understanding what everyone else is talking about and negotiating some common ground.They end up giving a single viewpoint – it’s just that it is a viewpoint that is some obscure algorithmic calculation of popularity.

    I hope this helps. Good luck with your studies.

    All the best


  5. Sylvia says:

    Hi Fran,

    I work at a public radio station in the U.S. We’re looking at changing our current taxonomy for news material from IPTC subject descriptors to something else (not determined yet) as we consider integrating our archive with our web publishing through a digital asset management system. I’d appreciate your thoughts about approaches to this, and if it’s wise to have the web drive our taxonomy standard for our archive. Please feel free to contact me at my email address.



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