Onomastic Resources (OR) is a consortium of seasoned veterans who have many decades of academic and professional experience working at the intersection of named entities and information technologies.
OR’s founder, Dr. Leonard Shaefer, has been a pioneering advocate for improved name-processing over the entirety of his career. Dr. Shaefer holds multiple patents in various aspects of automated name-processing and was one of the original creators of the products now sold by IBM as Global Name Recognition (GNR).
Dr. Shaefer completed his doctoral studies in the field of Computational Linguistics at Georgetown University in the mid-1980s. Immediately thereafter, he began his research on the unique linguistic properties of named entities, with special reference to the behavior of personal names in written form, when subjected to romanization. This work was initially performed for the U.S. Department of State, then subsequently for organizations within the U.S. Intelligence Community and ultimately for a consortium of 28 Federal-level agencies having shared missions that involved personal and organizational names. Over a decade, Dr. Shaefer traveled widely to dozens of U.S. installations overseas, to collect name-related data and gain first-hand knowledge of the complexities posed by the indigenous culture(s), language(s) and writing system(s), with respect to name-data collection and automated name-processing.
These varied insights enabled Dr. Shaefer to work closely with State Department IT managers and contractors in setting requirements, defining processing architectures and validating the as-built functionality of a new, global IT system deployed in all US embassies and consulates for adjudication of visa applicants. Many of these same insights were subsequently applied to related IT systems related to border control, law enforcement, anti-terrorism and anti-money-laundering (AML) missions for both U.S. Federal and international organizations.
In the mid-90’s, Dr. Shaefer began prototyping name-processing architectures and algorithms that could be scaled for use on then-extant 80×86-based desktop PCs, as an alternative to or supplement for existing mainframe-based technologies. These prototypes formed the basis for an integrated set of name-processing software tools, the NameHunter suite, that were later offered commercial sale by his company, Language Analysis Systems (LAS).
In 2006, LAS was acquired by IBM, and the NameHunter suite was added to the IBM information-management product portfolio as IBM Global Name Recognition (GNR). Thereupon, Dr. Shaefer became Chief Scientist for the IBM-GNR development team. He was tasked with leveraging GNR name-processing functionality across multiple contingent products in the IBM Master Data Management (MDM) group. Dr. Shaefer also led the installation and training team during successful product deployments in numerous financial services institutions such as Scotia Bank, Royal Bank of Canada, Citi, and Banco Itau.
In 2006, Dr. Shaefer and his development team were awarded a US patent for the unique multi-cultural processing architecture of the NameHunter product line, the first patent to be issued in the field of automated name-processing since 1918. This was followed by five additional patents for various aspects of automated name-processing over the next three years.