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easyDITA Ask the Expert Series: Taxonomy - why you need to move beyond standard metadata 2012-07-25
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easyDITA Ask the Expert Series: Taxonomy - why you need to move beyond standard metadata 2012-07-25


In the past, many teams relied upon index and search functionality to help users find information; however, to meet the changing user expectations for dynamic or personalized search, you need to …

In the past, many teams relied upon index and search functionality to help users find information; however, to meet the changing user expectations for dynamic or personalized search, you need to implement taxonomy.

In this webinar, Amber Swope addresses the following considerations:

When is it time to invest in taxonomy?
Who needs to be involved in the classification exercise?
How do you define the classification values?
How to you apply the classification values?
How do you manage the taxonomy?
One of the options Amber will discuss is using the DITA subjectScheme support for taxonomy definition and application.

The webcast recording is available at

Published in Education , Technology
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  • 0:00 – 0:03
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  • 0:06 – 0:06We are all familiar with taxonomiesClassification that are named taxonomies: Linnaean taxonomy of nature, California wine taxonomySystems that we recognize: grocery store organization, Olympic sport categories, shoe shopping
  • 0:07 – 0:07
  • 0:08 – 0:08Search allows the user to enter their own terms, but returns simply a list of items based on the occurrence of that word or phraseHow often have you entered a word or phrase and the search results list is seemingly endless?Preferred termsRelated termsMakes search smarter
  • 0:09 – 0:10Index allows the user to select from a list of keywords, but the keywords are usually applied to only the most significant items and not to every item to which the value appliesApplies label directly to contentIndex also does not indicate the relationship between keywordsIndex is really for a book and for a specific bookTaxonomy applies to entire content set
  • 0:11 – 0:11
  • 0:12 – 0:13Profiling and filtering refers to the conditional processing support in DITAExample: 2 versions of same manual (left/right car manual)Dynamic assembly
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  • 0:24 – 0:24Facet
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  • 0:43 – 0:44Governance – scopeProcess for submitting requests to new classifications and valuesPrompt response to requestsCommunication channel for letting teams know about valuesDocumentation for proper value applicationDeliverable metadata
  • 0:45 – 0:45
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  • 1. easyDITA Ask the Expert Series:Taxonomy: When you need to move beyondstandard metadata Amber Swope DITA Strategies July 25, 2012
  • 2. Taxonomy: why you need to move beyond standard metadata 2 AMBER SWOPE JULY 25, 2012 <dita strategies>copyright DITA Strategies, Inc. 2012
  • 3. Overview 3 Introduction Taxonomy overview DITA subjectScheme support Defining classification values Apply classification values Managing the taxonomy Questionscopyright DITA Strategies, Inc. 2012
  • 4. Introduction 4 Amber Swope  DITA Specialist, DITA Strategies, Inc.  Over 20 years of experience in the industry at multiple companies of varying sizes and industries  Supported information developers producing DITA content in Rational group at IBM  Author of numerous papers/presentations on information development and information architecture, including the DITA Maturity Model (with Michael Priestley)copyright DITA Strategies, Inc. 2012
  • 5. Taxonomy overview 5 “A taxonomy is simply a hierarchical collection of categories used to organize information.” --“Building Enterprise Taxonomies” by Darin L. Stewartcopyright DITA Strategies, Inc. 2012
  • 6. Taxonomy Example 6 Haeckel microbe classification 3 main classes  Protista (microscopic)  Plantae (plants)  Animalia (animals)copyright DITA Strategies, Inc. 2012
  • 7. When to invest in taxonomy? 7 Users can’t find what they’re looking for on Web site or portal Content creators can’t find content to edit or reuse Processing requires controlled metadata values Users want dynamic content delivery or personalized contentcopyright DITA Strategies, Inc. 2012
  • 8. When search isn’t enough 8 Search returns a list of items that simply contain the searched for word or phrase With taxonomy search can return list of items that contains the searched terms, synonyms and related termscopyright DITA Strategies, Inc. 2012
  • 9. When index and keywords aren’t enough 9 Index lists items based on a defined set of labels (metadata) that applies to the content, usually based on keywords Taxonomy is also a list of values, but has a richer set of relationships and can be used as authoritative source for index terms and other purposes (like search)copyright DITA Strategies, Inc. 2012
  • 10. Poll: How familiar are you with DITA? 101. I am totally unfamiliar.2. I am familiar with the concept, but haven’t used it.3. I have created DITA content.4. I’m writing a book about it.copyright DITA Strategies, Inc. 2012
  • 11. When processing requires controlled values 11 Processing refers to transformation of DITA source into deliverables and uses metadata to profile and filter content Use of <data> elements in DITA with manually typed values invites errors Specialization of <data> elements requires updates to your module files every time you need to add a new value Content management system configuration requires customization to your systemcopyright DITA Strategies, Inc. 2012
  • 12. When users want dynamic content delivery 12 Dynamic content allows users to specify context for information retrieval Control display with classification by providing selectable faceted navigation and search values Provide audience-specific labels or synonyms that are managed in the taxonomycopyright DITA Strategies, Inc. 2012
  • 13. What does DITA 1.2 provide? 13 subjectScheme support for defining and applying taxonomy values  Definition using specialized DITA maps  Application using topic references in maps or DITA attributes  Uses key referencing support Relationships  hasInstance  hasPart  hasKind  hasNarrower  hasRelatedcopyright DITA Strategies, Inc. 2012
  • 14. Why use subjectScheme? 14 It is available out-of-the-box (OOTB) with DITA 1.2. You can define the taxonomy in XML. You can control the taxonomy values in DITA maps in your repository. You can update the taxonomy values without having to update specialized files (versus specialized <data> elements). You can apply the values in the maps and topics. You can do an initial implementation without making a major investment into a taxonomy management tool. It is tool-independent.copyright DITA Strategies, Inc. 2012
  • 15. Defining taxonomy 15 Who creates the taxonomy?  Understands content structure  Knows how users will retrieve or search for content  Is familiar with content subject matter  Understands content relationships and taxonomy principles Who is involved as stakeholders?  Subject matter experts  Product managers  Usability experts  Web site designers (or whoever controls user access to content or deliverables)  Terminology “masters”copyright DITA Strategies, Inc. 2012
  • 16. Poll: Are you currently using taxonomy for any of the following? 161. CMS metadata2. Indexing or keywords3. Search enhancement4. Not using5. Othercopyright DITA Strategies, Inc. 2012
  • 17. Example: vehicles 17 Classifications  Brand  Model  Year  Type of vehicle  Terrain for which it is designed to be used  Famous vehicles  …copyright DITA Strategies, Inc. 2012
  • 18. Defining taxonomy with subjectScheme 181. Create taxonomy classification and values in subjectScheme maps2. Specify the relationship between the classescopyright DITA Strategies, Inc. 2012
  • 19. Relationship: hasInstance 19 Class=brand brand Values Audi  Audi BMW  BMW Cadillac  Cadillac Chevrolet Chevrolet   Dodge Dodge  Ford Ford  Kia Kia  Toyota Volkswagen Toyota  Volkswagencopyright DITA Strategies, Inc. 2012
  • 20. hasInstance Map 20<subjectScheme processing-role="resource-only" toc="no"> <hasInstance> <subjectdef keys="brand"> <subjectHead> <subjectHeadMeta><navtitle>Brand</navtitle></subjectHeadMeta> </subjectHead> <subjectdef keys="audi"> <topicmeta><navtitle>Audi</navtitle></topicmeta> </subjectdef> <subjectdef keys="bmw"> <topicmeta><navtitle>BMW</navtitle></topicmeta> </subjectdef> <subjectdef keys="chevy"> <topicmeta><navtitle>Chevrolet</navtitle></topicmeta> </subjectdef> … </subjectdef> </hasInstance></subjectScheme>copyright DITA Strategies, Inc. 2012
  • 21. Relationship: hasKind 21 Class=vehicle type type Values ambulance  ambulance compact  compact convertible  convertible coupe  coupe  crossover crossover  pickup truck pickup truck  sedan sedan  SUV SUV  van  wagon van wagoncopyright DITA Strategies, Inc. 2012
  • 22. hasKind Map 22<subjectScheme processing-role="resource-only" toc="no"> <hasKind> <subjectdef keys="type"> <subjectHead> <subjectHeadMeta><navtitle>Type</navtitle></subjectHeadMeta> </subjectHead> <subjectdef keys="ambulance"> <topicmeta><navtitle>Ambulance</navtitle></topicmeta> </subjectdef> <subjectdef keys="compact"> <topicmeta><navtitle>Compact</navtitle></topicmeta> </subjectdef> <subjectdef keys="convertible"> <topicmeta><navtitle>Convertible</navtitle></topicmeta> </subjectdef> … </subjectdef> </hasKind></subjectScheme>copyright DITA Strategies, Inc. 2012
  • 23. Relationship: hasNarrower 23 Class=Transportation vehicles Values  airplane airplane regional jet  regional jet Transportation van  automobile vehicles automobile  van sedan train  sedan  traincopyright DITA Strategies, Inc. 2012
  • 24. hasNarrower Map 24<subjectScheme processing-role="resource-only" toc="no"> <hasNarrower> <subjectdef keys="transportation_vehicles"> <subjectHead> <subjectHeadMeta><navtitle>Transportation Vehicles</navtitle> </subjectHeadMeta> </subjectHead> <subjectdef keys="plane"> <topicmeta><navtitle>Airplane</navtitle></topicmeta> <hasNarrower> <subjectdef keys="regional_jet"> <topicmeta><navtitle>Regional jet</navtitle></topicmeta> </subjectdef> </hasNarrower> </subjectdef> <subjectdef keys="auto"> <topicmeta><navtitle>Automobile</navtitle></topicmeta> … </subjectdef> </hasNarrower></subjectScheme>copyright DITA Strategies, Inc. 2012
  • 25. Relationship: hasInstance 25 Class=Famous Famous automobiles automobiles Batmobile Values  Batmobile Bullitt  Bullitt Christine  Christine Ectomobile  Ectomobile (Ecto-1) (Ecto-1)  The General Lee The General Lee  The Love Bug (Herbie) The Love Bug  KITT (Herbie) KITTcopyright DITA Strategies, Inc. 2012
  • 26. hasInstance Map 26<subjectScheme processing-role="resource-only" toc="no"> <hasInstance> <subjectdef keys="famous_autos"> <subjectHead> <subjectHeadMeta><navtitle>Famous Automobiles</navtitle> </subjectHeadMeta> </subjectHead> <subjectdef keys="batmobile"> <topicmeta><navtitle>Batmobile</navtitle></topicmeta> </subjectdef> <subjectdef keys="bullitt"> <topicmeta><navtitle>Bullitt</navtitle></topicmeta> </subjectdef> <subjectdef keys="christine"> <topicmeta><navtitle>Christine</navtitle></topicmeta> </subjectdef> … </subjectdef> </hasInstance></subjectScheme>copyright DITA Strategies, Inc. 2012
  • 27. Poll: Does your team use relationship tables? 271. No2. Yes, but in a limited manner3. Yes, we use them for all non-hierarchical linkscopyright DITA Strategies, Inc. 2012
  • 28. Relationship: hasRelated 28 Goal is to relate hierarchies to each other Relationships  Brand relates to vehicle type  Type relates to terrain subjectRelTable  subjectRole – like relrow, relates subjects in the same row  subject – contains set of related subjectscopyright DITA Strategies, Inc. 2012
  • 29. hasRelated in relationship table header 29<subjectScheme> <subjectRelTable toc="no"> <title>VW Relationships</title> <subjectRelHeader> <subjectRole> Column 1 <subjectdef keyref="brand"> <hasRelated> <subjectdef keyref="type"/> </hasRelated> </subjectdef> </subjectRole> <subjectRole"> Column 2 <subjectdef keyref="type"> <hasRelated> <subjectdef keyref="terrain"/> </hasRelated> </subjectdef> </subjectRole> <subjectRole> Column 3 <subjectdef keyref="terrain"/> </subjectRole> </subjectRelHeader>copyright DITA Strategies, Inc. 2012
  • 30. hasRelated in relationship table 30 <subjectRel> Row 1 <subjectRole> <subjectdef keyref="vw"/> </subjectRole> <subjectRole> <subjectdef keyref="wagon"/> </subjectRole> <subjectRole> <subjectdef keyref="highway"/> <subjectdef keyref="city"/> </subjectRole> </subjectRel> <subjectRel> Row 2 <subjectRole> <subjectdef keyref="vw"/> </subjectRole> <subjectRole> <subjectdef keyref="suv“/> </subjectRole> <subjectRole> <subjectdef keyref="highway"/> <subjectdef keyref="dirt"/> </subjectRole> </subjectRel> … </subjectRelTable></subjectScheme>copyright DITA Strategies, Inc. 2012
  • 31. Applying taxonomy values 31 What roles are appropriate for the responsibility?  Leads  Information architects  Subject matter experts (SMEs) When do they apply values to content?  At creation  At review  Upon completioncopyright DITA Strategies, Inc. 2012
  • 32. Applying taxonomy values with subjectScheme 321. Apply to entire maps2. Apply to entire topics3. Apply to elements within topicscopyright DITA Strategies, Inc. 2012
  • 33. Map and topic values 33 Whole map  Value=car Whole topic  Within topic reference  Value=brand  Value=model  Value=category  Value=yearcopyright DITA Strategies, Inc. 2012
  • 34. Content Map 34<map id="famous_autos"> <title>Famous Automobiles</title> <topicsubject> <subjectref keyref="car"/> References value from brand classification </topicsubject> <topicref href="batmobile.dita"> <topicsubject> References value from model classification <subjectref keyref="ford"/> <subjectref keyref="futura"/> <subjectref keyref="convertible"/> <subjectref keyref="1955"/> </topicsubject> References value from category classification </topicref> <topicref href="bullitt.dita"> References value from year classification <topicsubject> <subjectref keyref="ford"/> <subjectref keyref="mustang"/> <subjectref keyref="fastback"/> <subjectref keyref="1968"/> </topicsubject> </topicref> …</map>copyright DITA Strategies, Inc. 2012
  • 35. Element values 35 Based on conditional processing attributes Relates defined classification values to processing attributescopyright DITA Strategies, Inc. 2012
  • 36. Managing taxonomy 36 Governance (it’s not a dirty word!)  Authority and responsibility for classification  Role in term definitions Negotiation and collaboration Communicationcopyright DITA Strategies, Inc. 2012
  • 37. Managing taxonomy values with subjectScheme 371. Create classification maps in repository2. Apply permissions control to the maps3. When values need to be added, check out map, update values, and then check in.4. Apply new values to content.copyright DITA Strategies, Inc. 2012
  • 38. Summary 38 Create classifications to meet customer requirements Get the right people involved from the beginning Agree with stakeholders on who owns the classification definition and maintenance Understand how the values will be applied Communicate the plancopyright DITA Strategies, Inc. 2012
  • 39. Questions 39 <dita strategies> amber@ditastrategies .com 503.922.3038copyright DITA Strategies, Inc. 2012
  • 40. Thank you for attending! • Recorded webcast will be available soon through our website – you will get an email with the link or use this one: – • Anyone can register after the event to view the recording • Slides will be available on SlideShare – • Next webcast August 29, featuring Joe Gelb of Suite Solutions, discussing Dynamic Content Meets Social Engagement - Using DITA to Drive A Better Customer Experience. Please join us! • Please take our survey on The State of Collaboration – • Joe Gelb presentation on Subject Scheme classification: – 6/28/2012 © Jorsek, LLC. All Rights Reserved. 40