Gartner’s Hype Cycle for 2016 shows taxonomy/ontology on a rapid descent to the bottom of the trough.
Feeling slightly anxious yet? You should, if you’re a taxonomy/ontology practitioner and have clients who have seen the Gartner Hype Cycle for 2016. All of us working taxonomists and ontologists are right there, that cute little yellow triangle sliding down the rollercoaster rails, right behind augmented reality (hunh?) and just slightly ahead of natural language stuff.
According to Gartner, we’ve just about bottomed out in the trough (Really? A trough?) and we’re keeping an eye on VR for any tips and tricks as it begins its ascent through the Slope of Enlightenment. But, Gartner cautions, taxonomy/ontology is still more than 10 years from reaching its Plateau of Productivity! Decoded, I think this means:
- Like every other tech darling, our promises in taxonomy/ontology never matched expectations
- Maybe we’re like Icarus, with our hubris causing our downfall
- But! There’s still plenty of time to wallow in the trough before we join our colleagues and head toward the light
What this means is that clients no longer wonder, “just what the heck is a taxonomy” and instead have it baked into checklists for all sorts of projects, from website redesign to application navigation to controlled vocabularies to contextualized search. It also means that we’re no longer cool, esoteric technology for nerds too cool for library school but not techy enough to write the latest code.
It means that we now have many, many years ahead of us of working hard to integrate taxonomies and ontologies into enterprise systems, and to keep semantic technology discussions at the forefront. I do see a lot of opportunity for our work in the super cool technologies headed for the peak of inflated expectations (watch out, smart dust) and to keep making information systems we use today smarter and smarter. I like being an early adopter, even if it means a little disillusionment. After all, doesn’t the plateau of productivity sound so…boring?