Heather Hedden—a leading taxonomy expert and instructor—walks readers through the process, displaying her trademark ability to present highly technical information in straightforward, comprehensible English. Drawing on numerous real-world examples, Hedden explains how to create terms and relationships, select taxonomy management software, design taxonomies for human versus automated indexing, manage enterprise taxonomy projects, and adapt taxonomies to various user interfaces. The result is a practical and essential guide for information professionals who need to effectively create or manage taxonomies, controlled vocabularies, and thesauri. In this fully revised second edition, Hedden provides updates on taxonomy standards, development techniques, and career opportunities for taxonomists. She presents fresh survey data and offers new and expanded coverage of such critical topics as taxonomy testing, metadata, linked data, and SharePoint.

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Intranet and ECM Taxonomies In designing a taxonomy for tagging and retrieving content in intranets or in an enterprise content management ECM system, there is a fundamental question of whether to strive for creating a single comprehensive taxonomy to be applied throughout the enterprise or to have multiple specific taxonomies for different sets of content and different groups of users within the enterprise, or both.

Users need only become familiar with a single taxonomy, not multiple. So, it becomes easier to use. Content can be better shared and discovered. On the other hand, more, specific taxonomies can also be of value, providing more precise retrieval results by users who know where and how to search with them. In many organizations, there are very specific sets of documents, for which a specific taxonomy would aid in retrieval, yet they can be of value to any employee.

For example, in an organization that conducts research, these could be research reports or profiles of experts. In an organization that provides services, these could be documents of service descriptions, procedures, and policies. In and an organization with a large sales operation, these could be all the documents that support salespeople. Content in specialized repositories research reports, experts, service documents, sales support documents, etc.

For example, a taxonomy for research reports needs to be detailed in research subject areas. A taxonomy for experts would include areas of expertise, departments, locations, and job titles. A taxonomy for service support documents needs to be detailed in types of services and document types and should also include a set of terms for market segment.

A set of taxonomies in support of sales should likely include product categories, sales function or process stage, market, and customer type. It may be unclear who should decide and how the decision should be made regarding global, enterprise vs. The decision should probably be left to those in the organization who lead knowledge management or content strategy. There can also be uncertainty and ambivalence over which taxonomy approach to take. Create a general enterprise-wide taxonomy and various specific taxonomies Benefits: Taxonomies are suited to the content Drawbacks: Has silos and less sharing.

User outside of a department may not be familiar with the departmental taxonomy. Benefits: There is more sharing and ease of having a single taxonomy of terms for users to refine searches by.

Drawbacks: It is more difficult for tagging with a large and potentially confusing taxonomy, where sections of the taxonomy are irrelevant to some sets of taxonomy, and some terms may have been intended for one purpose but get used for another purpose. Other options are more creative, and hopefully IT can customize the content management and search software accordingly to support them.

Create an enterprise-wide taxonomy, as a master taxonomy, which is both general and specific, and various specific taxonomies, and map the specific taxonomies, term-by-term, to the master taxonomy which includes all terms.

Create a single comprehensive taxonomy with branches that can be hidden from display to those tagging content which does not require the terms from those branches of the taxonomy.

This makes it easier for those who tag, not being overwhelmed with a very large taxonomy, much of which is not relevant to their content, and contains terms which could potentially be confusing and misused.

As I was struggling with the problem with my current client on whether to make a large taxonomy terms available for tagging in all SharePoint sites, even though it was relevant to only a minority of the sites, the IT stakeholder informed me that for designated sites he could set the display of the taxonomy for tagging of just one top-level branch of the taxonomy and hide the rest.

Although no more than one branch could be displayed in this method, which would impact the hierarchical design of the taxonomy, this was the best compromised solution in this case.


The Accidental Taxonomist

Topics related to information management taxonomies posted by the author of the book, The Accidental Taxonomist. While the evaluation of a taxonomy by a taxonomist is needed when a taxonomy is created by non-taxonomists such as by subject-matter experts instead , testing of a taxonomy, on the other hand, is recommended in all cases, no matter who created the taxonomy. Following is an overview of the different kinds of testing that can or should be performed on a taxonomy prior to its implementation. Card-Sorting Card-sorting is probably the best known kind of testing, especially now that the prevalence of online card-sorting tools facilitates set-up and enables remote participation. It is not necessarily the best kind of testing for all situations, though. Card-sorting serves to test categorization schemes, so while it is suited for hierarchical taxonomies, it is not so appropriate for faceted taxonomies, especially with regard to how the facets are to interact with each other.


The Accidental Taxonomist: Introduction

Order from Publisher Introduction After reading a case study of an enterprise taxonomy in which corporate research librarians were charged with the task of building the taxonomy 1 , it occurred to me that many people who get involved in creating taxonomies do so by accident. This hypothesis was borne out by responses to an online questionnaire I wrote, in which taxonomists explained how they got into the field. Most of us first became familiar with the term taxonomy in high school biology when the concept was used in reference to the classification and naming of plants and animals. If you did not pursue a career in biology, you probably did not give the concept any further thought for quite some time after that. Although the term is also used to refer to nomenclature and classification of concepts in other academic disciplines, only since the late s has it been understood to mean information organization in general. Taxonomy in this sense includes controlled vocabularies for document indexing and retrieval, subject categories in content management systems, navigation labels and categories in website information architecture, and standardized terminology within a corporate knowledge base.

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