TopBraid Enterprise Vocabulary Net (TopBraid EVN) is a web-based solution for simplified development and management of interconnected controlled vocabularies. It supports business stakeholders who need to collaborate on defining and linking enterprise vocabularies, taxonomies, thesauri and ontologies used for information integration, customization and search.
"The goal of an enterprise taxonomy is not to insist on uniformity, but rather to know and model knowledge across the enterprise." How To Build A High-Octane Taxonomy For ECM And Enterprise Search Systems, Forrester Research
In today’s dynamic business environment, enterprises feel the tension between the desire to have a single, centralized, master vocabulary system and the need to manage vocabularies in a context-specific, distributed manner. The most common storage choice for business vocabularies is spreadsheets, trapped and hidden on user desktops. Some enterprise systems also include their own vocabulary capabilities, often leading to a proliferation of disconnected vocabularies that end up subverting the value of a controlled vocabulary. (See sidebar — Challenges)
This tension is causing many organizations to look for an Enterprise Vocabulary Management solution where controlled vocabularies are integral parts of enterprise-level information management.
Beyond focusing on the particular capabilities of vocabulary tools, Enterprise Vocabulary Management focuses on the modularity and connectivity of vocabulary assets.
Key Features of TopBraid EVN
- Flexible Data Model Ability to define and use any number of custom attributes and relationships
- Vocabulary Editing Cloning, merging, repositioning and re-numbering of concepts; global edit operations for selected groups of concepts
- Search Simple lookups and advanced search, tree and list views, visual graph exploration and query
- SKOS Built-in support for all standard SKOS attributes and hierarchical, associative and equivalency relationships
- Automatic processing Ability to create custom validation rules and automated script processing via
SPARQL Rules and
OWL rules and constraints ready to use out of the box
- Import/Export Import/Export from RDBMs, RSS feeds, spreadsheets (CSV), XML, SPARQL endpoints, RDF and OWL
- Audit Trails Every change is logged and time stamped, change history can be searched, changes can be rolled back if desired
- Unlimited Work-in-Progress Copies Virtual work-in-progress copies of vocabularies allow parallel development of versions and enable controlled publishing, review and approval workflow
- Impact Analysis Ability to query and create longitudinal analysis on any aspect of the vocabularies
- Role-based Access Control Ability to define view-only, edit and manage roles for each vocabulary and for the individual working versions of a vocabulary
- Reporting Built-in reports for hierarchy exports, spell checking, constraint violations and graph statistics Advanced query-building tools and reporting through graphical interfaces.
- Merging RDF standard universal identifiers provide easy “hooks” for merging vocabularies
- Systems Integration Integrate with existing enterprise or vocabulary management systems via Web Services interfaces and APIs
- Rich Web Interface Types (classes), properties and instances can be defined in an intuitive web-based system that supports drag and drop, autocompletion and rich text editing
- Customizability On-the-fly creation of customized user interfaces that can meet the needs of each user group
- Open Architecture and Standards External data need not be transformed into a proprietary schema. TopBraid EVN offers native support for RDF, OWL and SPARQL
- Enterprise-ready Scalable and robust architecture with DBMS deployment (choice of relational and RDF databases) with LDAP integration for access control
For a detailed list of the capabilities, see the EVN User and Reference Guide. The
screenshot tour shows many of the key features in action.
Benefits of Semantic Web Technology Capabilities for Vocabulary Management
Enterprise Vocabulary Management has emerged as an essential facet in effective business information management. While creating centralized reference vocabulary and taxonomy repositories is one common approach, often the governance model is complex and unsustainable. To support the business needs of complex, distributed enterprises, Enterprise Vocabulary Management practices and enabling technology/tools are evolving from Reference-only (text, models) to Interoperable (standards based) to Executable (federated, model-based, semantic-enabled). Semantic web technology makes it easier to aggregate and analyze vocabularies through its capabilities for expressing, querying and federating information.
Commitment to the Semantic Web standards as the basis of the enterprise information infrastructure brings the following benefits:
- The Semantic Web standards Resource Description Format (RDF) and RDF Schema provide the infrastructure for creating a web of information, whether on the public internet or within enterprise intranets. Like the familiar World Wide Web, the Semantic Web is easily extensible, breaking out of information silos once and for all, as vocabularies are available as resources on the web for anyone to reference and use. Each vocabulary element has a Uniform Resource Identifier (URI) which uniquely identifies it as a web resource.
- The Semantic Web standard Simple Knowledge
Organization System (SKOS) provides an extensible language for
describing structured terminology systems like taxonomies and
thesauri. Based on RDF, it inherits the power of flexibility and
distribution. SKOS extends RDF with specific notions of linkage
between structured vocabularies, making it particularly useful
for enterprise vocabulary management.
- The Semantic Web standard query language SPARQL provides much more than a query facility. In the context
of SPARQLMotion and SPIN, it provides a powerful mechanism for
modeling complex relationships between terminology. Connections
that previously had to be accomplished with custom software can
now be described in a standard, declarative way.
TopBraid EVN is available
You can evaluate TopBraid EVN by requesting a
For detailed instructions on logging in and using EVN's features, see the
TopBraid Enterprise Vocabulary Net User and Reference Guide
You can also try out TopBraid EVN by using the free evaluation copy of TopBraid Composer Maestro Edition.
To run TopBraid EVN out-of-the-box within TBC-ME, send your web browser to