25. Bob Kasenchak

The Iowa Idea: Bob Kasenchak

“In a lot of ways, as soon as you name something and classify it, you’ve ruined it.”

In this, the 25th episode of The Iowa Idea Podcast, I sit down with Bob Kasenchak, perhaps my favorite taxonomist in the world. Bob is a taxonomist and Senior Manager of Client Solutions at Synaptica, living in Albuquerque, New Mexico. After early training in philosophy and a decade studying and teaching music, Bob spent eight years designing and developing information projects before joining Synaptica in 2019. His current interests include knowledge graphs, gamelan, and soup.

Bob and I discuss the importance of taxonomy and ontology, as they relate to categorizing, organizing, and making sense of the informational world around us. Pushing along the edge of axiology, we talk about the ethics of labeling and categorizing. We also dig into more fun and interesting taxonomy issues such as the categorization and debate of calling hot dog a sandwich. We also try to understand where the hell grocery stores display pine nuts. Finally, we cover humans in the loop, and why the last mile of AI is still a ways away.

I really appreciated Bob’s advice “let the example generate the prose.” It was an honor having Bob on the podcast. I’d like to thank him for joining me. I hope you enjoy the episode.

About Bob

Bob Kasenchak is a taxonomist and Senior Manager of Client Solutions at Synaptica living in Albuquerque, New Mexico. After early training in philosophy and a decade studying and teaching music, Bob spent 8 years designing and developing information projects at a leading taxonomy firm before joining Synaptica in 2019. His current interests include knowledge graphs, gamelan, and soup.

Recent and Upcoming Talks:

  • Taxonomy Boot Camp 2019, “Strategies for Scoping Taxonomy Projects”
  • Taxonomy Boot Camp London 2019, “I’m a Taxonomist – and So Can You!”
  • Text Analytics Forum 2018
  • Taxonomy Boot Camp 2018, “Ethics of Naming”
  • Taxonomy Boot Camp London 2018, “Is a Hot Dog a Sandwich?”
  • SLA 2018: All-day Taxonomy Fundamentals Workshop
  • IA Summit 2018: “Is a Hot Dog a Sandwich? The Ethics of Appellomancy”
  • Taxonomy Boot Camp 2017: “Taxonomy 101”
  • Text Analytics Forum 2017, “Leveraging Text Analytics for Taxonomy Construction”
  • Taxonomy Boot Camp London 2017, “Practical Strategies and Techniques for Taxonomy Development”
  • ISKO UK 2017, “Beyond Search: Novel Implementations of Taxonomies”
  • IA Summit 2017, “Taxonomic Irony”
  • NFAIS 2017, “Scholarly Triage: Advances in Peer Review”
  • Taxonomy Boot Camp 2016, “Discover Thousands of Terms Using This One Weird Trick!”
  • Taxonomy Boot Camp London 2016, “Care and Feeding of Your Controlled Vocabulary”
  • SLA 2016, All-day Taxonomy Fundamentals Workshop
  • STM 2016, “Text Mining for Term Discovery for Taxonomy Construction”
  • Enterprise Data World 2016, “Investing in Semantics”
  • Data Harmony User Group 2016, “Linked Data and Taxonomies”
  • Taxonomy Boot Camp 2015, “Linked Data Case Study”
  • Library of Congress FEDLINK series 2015, “Make Your Thesaurus Smart!”
  • Taxonomy Boot Camp 2014, “Taxonomy-Based Disambiguation Processes”
  • Taxonomy Boot Camp 2013, “Indexing Images”

Credits

Episode produce by Spark Consulting Group (www.inspiredbyspark.com) in Iowa City, with support from Executive Podcast Solutions (https://www.executivepodcastsolutions.com/)

The Iowa Idea Podcast music written and performed by Paisley Bible (https://paisleybible.bandcamp.com/).

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