“Taxonomies can be the glue of an automatic classification implementation. They are the vocabulary that rules, whether Boolean or statistical, are built upon, allowing concepts to be applied consistently to content. Taxonomies also provide the framework of relationships, such as synonyms and related terms between concepts – they help the automatic system to understand the domain in the way that users do.”
Taxonomies are not a quick fix
Arnold answers his question – “Why are taxonomies perceived as the silver bullet that will kill the vampire search or CMS system” – with five points that mainly show that people think taxonomies are a) a quick fix, and b) easy to create especially with the aid of software. Neither is true.
I’m not sure he made the point about eggs completely clear. Let’s imagine the Waffle House needs to sales records and other information about the product line. It would see that different kinds of eggs are big business for them. To help people find the information about eggs, they might set up a “taxonomy” for eggs with sub-types of scrambled, fried, poached, boiled. This resembles a thesaurus, where the scrambled, boiled etc are the Narrow Terms.
Two basic rules are interesting:
- Users must understand the “product of taxonomy”
- Almost everything has a relationship or is part of a hierarchy
Creating User-Centred Taxonomies: Part Two (Sept 2008)
“In part two of this article, we look at creating, testing and launching the taxonomy.”
Both are excellent summaries and are well illustrated.
September 25-26, 2008
San Jose McEnery Convention Center – San Jose, CA
Keynote speakers are:
- Peter Morville, President, Semantic Studios, and author, Ambient Findability
- Leslie Owens, Analyst, Forrester
The objective is to get the best of the discipline of the prepared taxonomy and the involvement of social taggers in building knowledge and enhancing findability.
“Fortunately, the taxonomy versus folksonomy issue is not an “either/or” debate, but an opportunity for mutual progress. By combining the virtues of each approach into a working hybrid model, the enterprise can achieve its goal: a user-friendly system that encourages collaboration and makes information easier to find.”
Has many “recipes”.
The e-book is online and free with registration.
Barbara Blackburn, AIIM (May 31, 2006)Good introductory article on types of taxonomies with examples.
“Taxonomies are usually hierarchical. Categories (nodes) in the hierarchy progress from general to specific. Each subsequent node is a subset of the higher level node. There are three basic types of hierarchical taxonomies: subject, business-unit, and functional.”
“Large websites and intranets can benefit from improved methods of search and navigation. These include site maps, A-Z indexes, sophisticated search engines, and generally improved navigational design—and playing a potential role in all of these methods is well-planned taxonomy.”
Thanks to Patrick Lambe of Organising Knowledge for this lead.
Of interest: “Among the other noteworthy comments in this session was a negative about taxonomies. The gist of it was that they require so much discipline that they might work for a while but can’t really be sustained. If this attitude becomes the norm, many of the semantic search engines which depend on some type of classification and categorization according to industry terminologies or locally maintained lists will be challenged to deliver enhanced search results. …”
Taxonomy in E-commerce
“Starting with the big, bold pictures representing the categories and then moving down into cleaner/more robust filtering options and a more granular taxonomy, shoppers should be finding products easier (which makes for a better shopping experience) and merchants should be getting more relevant clicks (which improves ROI).”
Follow the screenshots on a search for football or the links for a search on ‘home organization’ to see the different treatments.
Blog and Book about Organizing Knowledge
His weblog, Green Chameleon, has several categories related to knowledge management and to taxonomy which provide various insights. This one on Folksonomies and Rich Serendipity argues for the value of people as “knowledge aggregators”. This is a very thoughtful piece that was later included in Lambe’s book.
Patrick Lambe is a principal with Straits Knowledge, a consulting firm for information and knowledge management based in Singapore.
Two excellent articles by Penny Crosman in Intelligent Enterprise on the use of taxonomies to enhance search.
Search in Focus: Implementing a Taxonomy (Dec 2006)
” Search engines don’t know the difference between reading glasses and drinking glasses, but a taxonomy puts your query in context. We outline several ways to build taxonomies, ranging from the tough but potentially more accurate approach of building from scratch to the easier but potentially compromised approach of buying a prebuilt taxonomy or using automated clustering software. ”
Select from http://www.intelligententerprise.com/
The Perfect Search (March 2006)
“Google-style search is all right for some, but an enterprise search demands a mix of technologies and techniques that lead to better accuracy.”