The Institution of Engineering and Technology

The Power of the Graph

INSPEC is a market-leading database of scientific and technical literature that was launched in the 1960s. It consists of bibliographic records which have been deeply enriched via metadata indexing using a number of controlled vocabularies which the IET has curated and evolved over decades of highly specialised information management.

Scientific publishing Using linked data and semantic technologies

The objective

The INSPEC team have a longstanding tradition of knowledge management excellence, and are one of very few customers who have approached Data Language because in practice they have reached the limits of what is achievable using text-based taxonomies of broader and narrower term relationships.

They realised that by migrating from simple taxonomies to rich ontologies which encoded the full set of entities and relationships in each subject domain, they would open up a whole new world of product innovation possibilities. At the same time, moving from text terms to machine-readable linked data entities represented a substantial cost savings opportunity due to the much greater scope for metadata enrichment automation.

What we did

We performed a detailed technical audit of the existing technical platform to identify an incremental, low risk upgrade path for the technical architecture across multiple releases.

We identified the subset of components and services which needed enhancement or refactoring, then tackled them in descending order of business value, and at the same time integrated them with the new ontologies and linked data services which we built. A product vendor then consumed the ontologies to power their concept extraction services which delivered the metadata enrichment automation.

Business strategy

Risk management and technical governance to support the business proposition

Technical architecture

Design of the overarching architecture, integration points and supporting processes


Helped recruit and lead a large global team through end-to-end software delivery


The INSPEC team is now incrementally rolling out its enrichment automation services in a very controlled manner to ensure there is no impact to the quality of the end product. This is delivering the anticipated cost savings.

...delivering the anticipated cost savings.

The INSPEC product management team are now market testing a range of new product innovations with customers. They are also exploring major new revenue opportunities involving direct API access and ‘metadata-enrichment-as-a-service’ offerings to other publishers and data vendors in the market.

Make an enquiry

If you would like to know more about Data Language or have a project you would like to discuss with us, then please get in touch.

Thank you

We have received your enquiry

We aim to respond to all enquiries within 24 hours.

One of our Data Language experts will be in contact with you shortly.