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Concept Tagging

Benefit from highly customizable and precise automated tagging and classification
Semantic concept tags, or semantic metadata, are information building blocks that help classify information assets, making them easier to find, use, and link to each other.

Many organizations have their own methods of tagging their content; however, these are typically manual. Manually tagging entire databases or content management systems (CMS), file by file, is very time consuming and involves a lot of people. 

An equally important downfall to these methods is that they are largely text-based. Simple text-based tagging is arguably a thing of the past, since it cannot keep up with the high volumes of content organizations use. In search engines, text-based tagging can only return results on exact keywords, whereas concept tagging can return results based on a much more diverse profile of attributes.

An advanced tagging method that is built off semantic concept tags allows organizations to better structure their databases and CMS as well as build intelligent search engines and robust recommender systems. 

“Active metadata is artificial intelligence-enabled and includes capabilities to coordinate analysis in multiple data management tools and even engage in dynamically altering their operations at the highest maturity level. Importantly, advanced passive metadata concepts such as automated metadata collection and updates are not active metadata.”


Gartner Inc, : ‘Gartner Critical Capabilities for Metadata Management Solutions’ (Mark Beyer, et al, November 2020)

The biggest challenges for organizations using manual text tags.


Error-prone data

A common result of manual tagging is inconsistent search results. Even with clear guidelines, people end up developing their own way of assigning metadata and create inconsistencies. Therefore, manual tagging without controlled vocabularies is not scalable and doesn’t work for organizations that store large quantities of files.

Quality of tags decreases over time

Tags may still be valid when creating new content, but what if the knowledge domain continues to evolve as new things and trends emerge? Inaccurate metadata creates large enterprise search challenges, wasting time and resources. Only automated tagging based on controlled domain vocabularies can cope with this dynamic.

Why concept-based tagging is better than text-based tagging.

In order to solve these problems, organizations can implement an auto classification solution that is driven by semantic technology using concept tagging. Auto classification is a methodology for scanning the contents of a document and automatically assigning concept-based tags that can be indexed into the appropriate categories and classes.

When an auto classification strategy is driven by simple text-based tags, the search engine can only retrieve information based on the exact terminology. Therefore, every word that the user enters in a search field should be extremely precise and relevant. On an ecommerce site, if a user wants to buy a blue cardigan, they would have to enter “blue cardigan” into the search field.

The advantage to concept tagging is that users can enter unspecific language or multiple keywords, and the search engine could retrieve the precise results that they want. For example, if the same user wants to buy a cardigan but can’t remember the name “cardigan,” entering “blue sweater” in the search field can still retrieve results for a cardigan because sweater and cardigan are bundled together in one concept. 

This image shows an analogy between auto classification and moving boxes.
In this screenshot of the PoolParty Thesaurus Server (orange panel), you can see that “Sweater” has an alternative label of “Cardigan.” Since this alternative label has been added to the concept, the search engine is also able to recall product information with these tags. The search engine is not limited to one keyword, instead it is strengthened by various terms.

On the left side of the screenshot, these concepts are organized into a hierarchical taxonomy which gives structure to the documents and their tags – fulfilling the final step of auto classification. The concepts can be automatically sorted into their corresponding classes and concept schemes in the taxonomy through predefined rules that have been set up in the thesaurus structure. The benefit to maintaining tags in a taxonomy is the consistency it provides through its hierarchical structure and controlled vocabularies. 

Adding Knowledge Graphs to strengthen concept tagging.

Another differentiator with simple text-based tagging and semantic concept tagging is the use of knowledge graphs. The added benefit to combining auto classification with knowledge graphs is that you can map the logic between tags. Visually represented in a web of sorts, knowledge graphs link together various business assets, entities, concepts, etc. together to see how these things are related. They help to provide context to all these little pieces of information because they allow you to see how they all fit together.
Semantic tags that are mapped in a knowledge graph identify relationships between concepts, terms, documents, etc. and the contents within those documents.  With semantic tags, you can bundle these relationships together by adding labels of synonymous terms that make search platforms function smarter. When the semantic metadata is stored in a knowledge graph, documents can be indexed and queried better, allowing for precise user search.

In a CMS, documents can be tagged with authors, topics, authoring dates, etc. If a user is  looking for a document by one particular author, all those documents tagged with the same author will be retrieved so that the user does not have to sift through the whole database. The user can also locate documents more easily based on their classification, e.g. searching for news items vs. event articles. 

Even more, concept tagging serves as a fundamental step to making graph-based recommender engines. Semantic graph-based recommender systems are the powerful alternative to standard search for their ability to suggest smarter results based on the user’s interactions with a platform and understanding of context and meaning.

If a research team for a pharmaceutical company is trying to write a paper on heart-related conditions. If the user searches for “heart rate,” they will only be given results that explicitly talk about heart rate. With a graph-based recommender system, the user gets the obvious results as well as intelligent “further reading” suggestions. I.e. you type in the words “heart rate” and get documents also relating to heart diseases, abnormalities, etc. relating to heart rate; in this case, the recommender system understands that one thing affects the other. Altogether, the content creation process is much easier and helpful.

The metadata from the semantic concept tags helps the user become better oriented to their CMS so they can use it more efficiently.

Experience the major benefits of concept tagging with PoolParty PowerTagging.


Precise search and recommendations

Along with manual tagging being quite the tedious process, it is also prone to errors and inconsistencies. PoolParty’s automated concept tagging results in accurate data that can be better filtered on user search platforms, ultimately improving customer experience. Recommender systems or semantic search platforms (which are built on concept tags) are extremely powerful examples of intelligent search platforms, because they can retrieve relevant and precise information based on filtering of concepts and confidence scores.


Manual tagging processes often require that a team of content or knowledge managers audit each and every document by hand. Not only does PoolParty’s semantic tagging automate this process, it is also done on a platform that is celebrated for its user-friendly interface. Even with little background in IT, knowledge teams can access all of PoolParty’s tagging benefits at a very low learning curve.


PoolParty already has out-of-the-box integrations with widely used platforms like SharePoint, Adobe Experience Manager, and Tridion Docs. Thanks to its rich API, it is highly integrable with any enterprise content or data management system. With PoolParty Semantic Suite, you can transform your workflow without making any major changes to your existing systems.

Download the success story with our customer Microsoft Docs to learn how they use concept tagging to power their technical documentation

Other Resources

Learning hub: Read our in-depth guide about concept tagging and auto classification.

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PoolParty PowerTagging: Read about how our solution can help you.

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Readiness assessment: Check to see if your company can benefit from knowledge graphs.

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The PoolParty Semantic Suite has ready-made integrations for various CMS. Click on the link to read about our PowerTagging solution in depth!
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