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Principles of Taxonomies

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Gives an overview of taxonomies and how they work in websites,

Gives an overview of taxonomies and how they work in websites,

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  • Who has heard the term taxonomy? Who knows what taxonomies are used for? Who here has experience creating a taxonomy? If you create indexes, then I assure you that you can create taxonomies. It’s just a matter of understanding some basics and getting the opportunity to do it. Not only is creating a taxonomy interesting work, but it can also help with information organization within your company and raise your usefulness profile. I’m sure you’ve encountered taxonomies on websites, even if you didn’t recognize them as such. There’s no mystery to them, but people don’t always understand why and how they’re created. That’s what we’ll talk about tonight.My background.
  • Business men use clay tablets kept track of accounts and contracts – struggle to store them all and be able to find them again. During the Dark Ages (in the west), monks store the books, recopy them, organize them. With the printing press, a huge explosion of information. The world’s first information glut.Linneaus wants to classify all the species in the world and starts his taxonomy. Jefferson has his own extensive library which he classified. Donated to the LOC after that library burned in 1814 during the War of 1812. LOC subject headings started with Jefferson. NA libraries use.Melvil Dewey was the first to give us a “universal” classification scheme – a scheme that could be used by multiple libraries and easily implemented. He implemented his system using women to do the grunt work as he felt women were docile and wouldn’t question his system. They were also cheaper labourers. Ranganathan creates his colon classification based on facets, and gives modern day information professionals a basis for non-traditional classification schemes. Very useful in our modern day information glut.
  • Start with some examples
  • I liken taxonomies to drop-down lists. When you have to select from a drop-down list, that’s a predefined list somewhere. It controls your choice and ensures you enter information in a standardized format.
  • An authority list is a list of the terms that may be used for a particular collection. Libraries maintain authority lists of authors’ names, so that Samuel Clemens, Samuel Longhorn Clemens, and Mark Twain are pulled together as the same person. To be precise:A taxonomy arranges the terms in the controlled vocabulary into a hierarchy without adding scope notes.Thesaurusis an authority list for authorized subject terms that adds features such as identifying the broader,narrower and related relationships between terms on the list, listing unauthorized terms and referring the user to the correct terms, listing scope notes. A lot of the work I do is divided between taxonomies and thesauri, though everyone calls them taxonomies.

Transcript

  • 1. Principles of Taxonomy Theresa Putkey Information Architect Copyright (C) Key Pointe Usability Consulting, Inc.
  • 2. What We’ll Cover• A brief history lesson• A look at modern day taxonomies• Taxonomies purpose and uses• Building a taxonomy• Taxonomy maintenance• Transferring your skills Copyright (C) Key Pointe Usability Consulting, Inc.
  • 3. Brief History Lesson Copyright (C) Key Pointe Usability Consulting, Inc.
  • 4. Modern Day Taxonomies• We have information products that are extremely content heavy• Managed with CMS, DAM, digital library• Taxonomies help us re-use content• Taxonomies help users find content Copyright (C) Key Pointe Usability Consulting, Inc.
  • 5. LISTACopyright (C) Key Pointe Usability Consulting, Inc.
  • 6. CBCCopyright (C) Key Pointe Usability Consulting, Inc.
  • 7. CBC ArchivesCopyright (C) Key Pointe Usability Consulting, Inc.
  • 8. AmazonCopyright (C) Key Pointe Usability Consulting, Inc.
  • 9. Taxonomy Purpose• Find like items• Improve search results• Disambiguate terms• Differentiate between dissimilar items Copyright (C) Key Pointe Usability Consulting, Inc.
  • 10. Taxonomy Use• Used by an author to find and reuse content• Used by a customer to find and use content• Label items with terms• Search on those terms• Browse through the terms Copyright (C) Key Pointe Usability Consulting, Inc.
  • 11. Copyright (C) Key Pointe Usability Consulting, Inc.
  • 12. Copyright (C) Key Pointe Usability Consulting, Inc.
  • 13. Metadata & Taxonomy• Metadata is data about data, or information about information. We have a shoe, then we have information about the shoe.• Some of this information can be assigned by the taxonomy. Company: Hunter Style: Hunter Original Colour: Purple Boot Shaft: Knee High Width: M Copyright (C) Key Pointe Usability Consulting, Inc.
  • 14. What We’ll CoverWe’ve covered:• A brief history lesson• A look at modern day taxonomies• Taxonomies purpose and usesNow we’ll get into:• Building a taxonomy• Taxonomy maintenance• Transferring your skills Copyright (C) Key Pointe Usability Consulting, Inc.
  • 15. Basics of Building a Taxonomy• Do a content audit and assign keywords to each component.• Pull out all the keywords into one list, then consolidate.• Decide on your controlled vocabulary. Copyright (C) Key Pointe Usability Consulting, Inc.
  • 16. Ways to Categorize• Controlled vocabulary refers to an authority list, thesaurus or taxonomy. Copyright (C) Key Pointe Usability Consulting, Inc.
  • 17. Taxonomies• Hierarchical and faceted• Outlines relationships between items• Used in computer systems to retrieve non- physical objects.• Images, content components, documents, videos. Copyright (C) Key Pointe Usability Consulting, Inc.
  • 18. Relationships• Scope Note• Broader Terms• Related Terms• Narrower Terms• Use• Use For Copyright (C) Key Pointe Usability Consulting, Inc.
  • 19. Hierarchical Taxonomy• Used when hierarchical structure of items is very important• Preserves relationships• But can be more difficult to navigate Copyright (C) Key Pointe Usability Consulting, Inc.
  • 20. Hierarchical Taxonomy ExampleHierarchical Flat Format (Thesaurus) Copyright (C) Key Pointe Usability Consulting, Inc.
  • 21. Faceted Taxonomy• Used when attributes are more important than hierarchy• Easier to navigate• But can hinder someone looking for hierarchical relationships• Traditionally one facet value from each facet (but used more casually outside of libraries) Copyright (C) Key Pointe Usability Consulting, Inc.
  • 22. Faceted Taxonomy Copyright (C) Key Pointe Usability Consulting, Inc.
  • 23. Faceted Taxonomy Copyright (C) Key Pointe Usability Consulting, Inc.
  • 24. Taxonomy ReviewYou may need to teach others how to readand use a taxonomyNeed to work with stakeholders to makesure:• Taxonomy reflects real-world language• BT, RT, and NT are accurate• Nothing is missing• Nothing needs to be removed Copyright (C) Key Pointe Usability Consulting, Inc.
  • 25. Taxonomy Maintenance• New content always being created• Some of it may not have a “spot” and needs to be accommodated• Keywords can be promoted to taxonomy terms• Weekly, monthly, quarterly reviews• Email list for suggestions and discussion Copyright (C) Key Pointe Usability Consulting, Inc.
  • 26. You, a Taxonomist• Aware of content• Aware of how people use content (authors and customers)• Know how to classify information (think indexing)• One of a few people interested and good at information organization• Volunteer yourself Copyright (C) Key Pointe Usability Consulting, Inc.
  • 27. What We CoveredWe covered:• A brief history lesson• A look at modern day taxonomies• Taxonomies purpose and uses• Building a taxonomy• Taxonomy maintenance• Transferring your skills Copyright (C) Key Pointe Usability Consulting, Inc.
  • 28. More Resources• National Information Standards Organization (2004). Understanding metadata. http://www.niso.org/publications/press/Understanding Metadata.pdf• Thesaurus Principles http://willpowerinfo.co.uk/thesprin.htm• Metadata? Taxonomy? Thesauri? Topic Maps! http://www.ontopia.net/topicmaps/materials/tm-vs- thesauri.html• Getty AAT http://www.getty.edu/research/tools/vocabularies/aat/• Hedden, Heather. (2010). Accidental Taxonomist.• Taylor, Arlene G. (2004). The organization of information, 2nd ed. Westport, CN: Libraries Unlimited. Copyright (C) Key Pointe Usability Consulting, Inc.
  • 29. Sesame Street Taught Us Copyright (C) Key Pointe Usability Consulting, Inc.
  • 30. Contact Info• 604 563 6317• tputkey@keypointe.ca• www.keypointe.ca• @tputkey Copyright (C) Key Pointe Usability Consulting, Inc.