The Concepts

An Intro to Metadata and Taxonomies by Christine Benson, Brain Traffic (March 29)Clear, simple definitions of metadata and taxonomy and how the two relate to each other. Good list of references.

Organizing Information
Organizing digital information for others from Maisch Nichani at Pebble Road (Feb 23)This looks interesting – an e-book on organizing information – download or read online. It’s somewhat addressed to a web or intranet team, but anyone organizing information for others will get value.

“In this short book, we explore how lists, categories, trees and facets can be better used to organize information for others. We also learn how metadata and taxonomies can connect different collections and increase the findability of information across the website or intranet.”

It starts off very well with a concept map of the concepts covered in the book. It explains the concepts simply and gives practical advice and illustrations.

For example, “the first principle of making lists is – all terms used in the list should pass the common knowledge test”. It’s fun to read, and recommends many excellent resources. Length – 54 pages and closes with a check list.

Very much ecommended. Enjoy.

Taxonomies Relationships 
KMWorld’s Enterprise Search Newsletter for March 14, 2012, has a very concise explanation of taxonomies with illustrations – a perfect, quick introduction.Also note the item about concept searching – also pertinent to management of information assets and governance.

Introduction to taxonomies and thesauri

LLRX has picked up Gail Rayburn’s presentation on Taxonomies and Thesauri to the Washington DC SLA chapter. (Nov 1, 2011). It’s a very good primer to the terms and structure, and a guide to how to go about building one. Includes a brief introduction to ontologies as well.

Posted by Gwen Harris at 6:34 PM 0 comments

Taxonomy Boot Camp 2011


Presentations from Taxonomy Boot Camp, Oct 31 to Nov 1,2011, are available at Directions by Don Turnbull takes us on a tour of organizing data and information emotively (by mood), for the individual – the personal taxonomy, behavioral patterns, judgement – ratings and permissions, and lastly, the one we know a bit more about, semantics and clustering.

Very interesting example of working with taxonomies in the presentation on Rebuilding Taxonomy Warehouse as an Ontology from Dave Clarke at Synaptica International.

Gary Carlson has good advice and amusing examples in Avoiding the Autobiographical Taxonomy

Other well known presenters include Heather Hedden, Patrick Lambe, Seth Earley, Tom Reamy.



Stephen Arnold got an Exclusive Interview with Margie Hlava, Access Innovations (July 19)They seem to be friends – “On a rare visit to Louisville, Kentucky, on July 15, 2011, I was able to talk with Ms. Hlava about the explosion of interest in high quality content tagging, the New Age word for indexing. Our conversation covered the roots of indexing to the future of systems which will be available from Access Innovations in the next few months. … How often do I in rural Kentucky get to interact with one of the, if not the, leading figure in taxonomy development and smart, automated indexing? Answer: Not often enough.”

Go on to read the full interview for more on indexing and taxonomies

Taxonomy makes information findable
The Top 10 Reasons to Create a Taxonomy by Marjorie M. K. Hlava, Information Today – via DocStor (Feb 2011)Entire article is available for reading – ignore the warning that page 2 is hidden.

Marjorie Hlava is the President of Access Innovations – known for its taxonomy management systems. She gives 10 powerful reasons for adopting and using taxonomies to improve enterprise search.

The SLA Taxonomy Division

We can learn a lot from the SLA Taxonomy Division’s wiki page that lists the SLA Taxonomy-related sessions at the 2010 SLA Conference. PDF versions of several of the presentations are attached to the wiki page: business case, knowledge management, development, content management – more.

Webinars on Taxonomy Uses
ASIS&T is hosting a four-part webinar series on using taxonomies –Taxonomy Uses Webinar Series – on Thursdays, January 27, 2011 to February 17. See the outline of topics and short biographies of presenters.+ Semantic Integration – Leveraging the Taxonomy
+ Taxonomies in Search
+ Taxonomies in e-Commerce
+ People Directories and Author Networks Based on Taxonomies

Even the outlines will inform.


Posted by Gwen Harris at 6:35 PM 0 comments


Folksonomy Myths


Tagging Electronic Records – There’s No ‘onomy’ in Folksonomy, Susan Cisco, AIIM ERM Community (Jan 3)Electronics Records Management requires methods and structure for classifying records and content. A folksonomy of user tags won’t really do the job – says Susan Cisco in her blog – as she quotes from Tom Reamy in Folksonomy Folktales 2010 (KMWorld Dec 2010)

Reamy identifies a few myths:

+ Folksonomies are examples of the wisdom of crowds
+ Folksonomies are building bottom-up classification systems
+ Folksomomies are Working
+ Metadata works best when it is free – in the realm of Everyman

Susan Cisco adds from her experience – “My observation of folksonomy use at the enterprise level is that it hasn’t been very successful. Isn’t that what happens when organizations allow end users to organize and maintain records and information without management controls or naming conventions?”

Her recommendation: “A simple taxonomy appears to be a more reliable approach to tagging electronic records.”


Posted by Gwen Harris at 5:37 PM 0 comments

Pitfall of Search

Art vs. Information Science, Ryan Tracey, eLearn Magazine (Dec 30, 2010)The pitfall of search is that the search box makes us think we can see and access everything but it fact it’s hardly the size of a mail slot on a door.

When we search we are like Ned Kelly on a horse looking at the horizon seeing only a tiny slice.

Ryan Tracey reflects on the Ted Canberra lecture by Dr Whitelaw who recommends we deal with this problem by showing everything through data visualization techniques. He notes that this may be good for exploring but not necessarily for learning. The learner needs “scaffolding” – a structure to the subject area. This can be provided through “categories and tags”. Taxonomies, essentially – and taxonomies built by subject experts. He says (and I agree wholeheartedly), “I still believe in the value of an expert guiding a novice. I maintain the expert has an obligation to contribute his or her expertise to the knowledge repository, and to tag it appropriately.”

Article also links to the excellent TedXCanberra lecture.

Role of Taxonomies in Web 3.0

Interface: Where We’re Headed with Web 3.0, by William Laurent, Information Management Magazine (Jul / Aug 2010)This is a very rosy prediction about what Web 3.0 will enable in information handling and the role of taxonomies in making it possible.

“Web 3.0 will effectively categorize and present digital information to users in a visually improved manner that enhances interaction, analysis, intuition and search functions. The key driver in this scenario is the concept of taxonomies – standardized and self-describing classifications with codified semantics that are related to one another via highly normalized and descriptive metadata, not by a pastiche of static hyperlinks.”


Posted by Gwen Harris at 12:14 PM 0 comments


Facets for Taxonomy

From Sumo to Samurai: getting your taxonomies fighting fit: Part 1by Kate Simpson, FUMSI (June 2010)This FUMSI article follows up on a 2-part piece last year on Designing User-Centred Taxonomies. Kate Simpson takes issue with what she calls Sumo taxonomies (blockbuster big), and proposes more use of facets and faceted search.

“Part 1 of this article – yes, if it’s about taxonomies it just seems to need two parts – introduces the concept of facets and the power of faceted navigation and search. A later article will aim to train any of those lumbering Sumo-type taxonomy trees you may have into the fighting-fit warriors of Samurai facets.”

Classification systems as we have known them were designed for paper. Facets work better for digital.


Posted by Gwen Harris at 7:39 PM 0 comments

Using Taxonomies in Sharepoint

SharePoint Taxonomy Fairy Dust, Stephen E Arnold, Beyond Search (April 21)Stephen Arnold examines the claims made in SharePoint 2010: Using Taxonomy & Controlled Vocabulary for Content Enrichmentby Jeff Carr (one of a series in CMSWire on Taxonomy and Metadata for Sharepoint). Article has screenshots and how-to-use – making it all seem very simple. But Stephen Arnold reminds us that the taxonomy does not miraculously show itself. It requires analysis, understanding of the business and of the users: it’s not just a selection from a dropdown menu.

Arnold: “My suggestion is to do some thinking about the nature of the user, the specific information retrieval needs, and the expertise required to do the job to avoid wasting time and money.”


Posted by Gwen Harris at 3:51 PM 0 comments

The Accidental Taxonomist Book

The Accidental Taxonomist by Heather Hedden is available for preorder at a reduced price.From the publisher: “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. ”

Heather presents sessions and offers workshops at many conferences and has published numerous articles. See her websiteHedden Information Management for upcoming presentations and published articles on the Web.

Articles on Taxonomy and Tagging Portfolio

The FUMSI Folio on Taxonomies and Tagging looks to be a useful reference for taxonomists. This is a collection of articles on taxonomies and tagging practices published in October 2009. Only $64 US.Table of Contents:

* Editorial Introduction by Karen Loasby, Contributing Editor, Manager
* Taxonomies and Tagging Survey Results
* Creating User Centred Taxonomies: Part One, by James Kelway
* Creating User Centred Taxonomies: Part Two, by James Kelway
* Folksonomies: Business Use, by Fran Alexander
* Automatic Classification: A Panel Discussion, by Karen Loasby
* Image Findability: Improving through Tags, by Ian Davis
* Becoming a Taxonomist: Real Life Stories, by Karen Loasby
* Recommended Resources

Falksonomies in Business

Folksonomies: Business Use,by Fran Alexander. FUMSI (May 2009)Finds strengths and weaknesses in using folksonomies in business depending upon how much precision and recall is needed. Sums it up as “Business contexts where precision and recall are not important tend to be in less process-critical areas or where individual content items are not business critical, such as wikis, blogs, or corporate social networking sites.”

Provides a comparison of characteristics for folksonomies and the taxonomy.

Proposes that we should aim at getting “best of both worlds” and presents “suggested contexts” for using each.







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