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Interesting article

A piece from Information Today that may be of interest to list members.

Joseph J. Esposito


Volume 16, Number 1 . January 1999
New ThemeScape Software Creates Interactive Maps of Information


Cartia, Inc. has announced the availability of ThemeScape 1.0, a new
application for managing high volumes of information. Using a process
known as Enterprise Information Mapping (EIM), ThemeScape automatically
harvests massive amounts of unstructured text, extracts the major themes
and topics, and creates an interactive map of the information, according
to the company. The topographical maps show a big-picture view of the
content within large quantities of documents, Web pages, e-mail, and other
sources. According to the company, the topographical landscapes produced
by ThemeScape are not just maps of documents; they are the information
within those documents. Major themes rise from the surface, much like
mountain peaks, indicating a concentration of documents around a given
topic. The distance between the peaks indicates how closely different
themes are related. These visual cues rapidly accelerate a user's ability
to understand the context of information.

"It's like looking at information from 30,000 feet," said Greg Clark, a
knowledge management consultant and beta user at British Petroleum. "You
can see the patterns and relationships that emerge when you combine
information from thousands of different documents. ThemeScape has given us
insights we may have missed entirely."

The underlying technology of ThemeScape has been in development for more
than 4 years, beginning at the Department of Energy's Pacific Northwest
National Laboratory operated by Battelle. With roots in highly classified
covert operations, early development was directed by the U.S. government
to help discover patterns and trends within hundreds of thousands of
intelligence documents. In 1996, Cartia secured exclusive rights to the
technology and has since redesigned both the mapping engine and user
interface for use in commercial applications.

ThemeScape has three primary components:

  a.. ThemeServer is the underlying engine that provides content
aggregation, map generation, and information distribution to end users.
Each ThemeServer can support multiple ThemePublishers and ThemeReaders.
  b.. ThemePublisher is the control center for ThemeScape. ThemePublisher
users can harvest information from local directories, intranet servers, or
Internet Web sites. They can customize map appearance, create time-sliced
maps based on document dates, and even personalize the application with
graphics, user controls, and text specific to their business.
ThemePublisher also includes all of the capabilities of ThemeReader.
  c.. ThemeReader is a desktop client that allows users to view and
interact with maps created using ThemePublisher. ThemeServer runs on a
Microsoft Windows NT Server. ThemePublisher and ThemeReader are Java
applications that run on Windows 95/98 and Windows NT. Pricing varies
depending on configuration. ThemeScape 1.0 is currently in use at several
major corporations, among them British Petroleum, Philips Electronics,
Ford, and Texaco. Source: Cartia, Inc., Redmond, WA, 425/602-3550;