Successful Content Management Through Taxonomy And Metadata Design


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Presentation at the 2009 CIDM conference on Successful Content Management Through Taxonomy And Metadata Design.

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  • The taxonomy and metadata strategy you put in place must be personalized to meet the needs of your organization. You must walk the balance between requiring too much of your content managers and providing enough to your users in order that they can benefit from the information within your system.
  • Expectations:People, by nature, do not agree on concepts, naming and categorizationWe don’t know all user needs (and won’t throughout the process)Not everything we do will be intuitive to all (or even most) usersThe taxonomy will never be completely finished or completely “right”
  • Successful Content Management Through Taxonomy And Metadata Design

    1. 1. Sara James & Rachel Sondag<br />Successful Content Management through Taxonomy and Metadata Design<br />
    2. 2. Agenda<br /><ul><li>Taxonomy and Metadata Overview:
    3. 3. Definitions
    4. 4. Justification
    5. 5. Categorization Schemes
    6. 6. Development Approaches
    7. 7. Risks and Challenges
    8. 8. Design Best Practices
    9. 9. Workshop Concept</li></li></ul><li>Taxonomy and Metadata<br /><ul><li>Primary tools to provide structure to unstructured information
    10. 10. Depending on system design and use, may be front-end or back-end functionality
    11. 11. Taxonomy (categorization) is often actualized by applying metadata to documents
    12. 12. Enable Findability</li></li></ul><li>Definitions<br />
    13. 13. Definitions<br />Metadata<br />Title<br />Author<br />Department<br />Audience<br />Topic<br />
    14. 14. How business taxonomy translates into front-end interface<br />
    15. 15. How business taxonomy translates into front-end interface…for YOUR BUSINESS<br />?<br />
    16. 16. Traditional Taxonomies<br />Animalia<br />Chordata<br />Reptilia<br />Squamata<br />Colubridae<br />Pituophis<br />Catenifer<br />Kingdom<br /> Phylum<br /> Class<br /> Order<br /> Family<br /> Genus<br /> Species<br /><ul><li>“Instantive” Categorization Approach
    17. 17. Defined by “is a” relationships - each child category is aninstance of the parent category
    18. 18. “Pure” taxonomic approach
    19. 19. Biological/Medical/Library Sciences Taxonomies
    20. 20. An overall organizational system with many branches or sub-branches that organizes their world of information
    21. 21. Extremely rigid approach
    22. 22. Purely subject-oriented
    23. 23. Consistent and methodical
    24. 24. Every item has one and only one correct categorization</li></li></ul><li>Business Taxonomies<br /><ul><li>Tend to be less rigid and constrained
    25. 25. Influenced by usability concerns
    26. 26. Minimize number of “clicks”
    27. 27. Often content-driven
    28. 28. Ensure balanced content distribution
    29. 29. Allow flexibility, redundancy
    30. 30. Items may be organized into multiple categories
    31. 31. May support multiple taxonomies for disparate audiences
    32. 32. May use one or more categorization approaches</li></li></ul><li>Back-end v. Front-end<br /><ul><li>Traditionally, taxonomies are used as values to populate one or many metadata fields
    33. 33. Back-end visibility
    34. 34. Used for integration and classification
    35. 35. Business Taxonomies are typically front end “folder” structures
    36. 36. Front-end accessibility
    37. 37. Used for navigation as well as integration and classification</li></li></ul><li>Traditional v. Business Taxonomy<br /><ul><li>Taxonomy for Scientists and Librarians
    38. 38. An overall organizational system with many branches or sub-branches that attempt to organize their world of information
    39. 39. Each book or plant falls into one specific category
    40. 40. Taxonomy on the web or with a portal
    41. 41. Document-driven, some redundancy
    42. 42. Minimize empty folders
    43. 43. Flatter, simpler, more navigable
    44. 44. More common, intuitive language</li></li></ul><li>The Difference<br /><ul><li>What you lose with a Business Taxonomy
    45. 45. Absolute granularity
    46. 46. Ultimate classification
    47. 47. What you gain
    48. 48. Usability
    49. 49. Findability
    50. 50. Simplicity</li></li></ul><li>Why?<br /><ul><li>Provide structure to unstructured information
    51. 51. Pull together disparately located content
    52. 52. Allows users to discover and learn
    53. 53. Search tools alone are inadequate
    54. 54. Allow users to find the information they need in a way that makes sense to them</li></li></ul><li>Categorization Schemes<br />Hardest<br />Easiest<br />
    55. 55. Taxonomy Building<br />Automated/Bottom-up<br /><ul><li>Identify overall ontology and major content collections
    56. 56. Analyze content collections using automated textual analysis tools
    57. 57. Reveal major and minor topics of information; build taxonomy based on the relationship of these topics
    58. 58. Content-driven; may reveal new associations of information</li></ul>Manual/Top-down <br /><ul><li>Work with librarians and functionally- or subject-based individuals or Focus Groups
    59. 59. Identify overall ontology and major categories of information
    60. 60. Subdivide categories as necessary to build taxonomy
    61. 61. Individual-driven; may entrench obsolete or arbitrary categories</li></ul>Health<br />Education<br />Finance<br />HR<br />News<br />Finance<br />
    62. 62. Risks and Challenges<br />
    63. 63. Lack of Understanding<br /><ul><li>The primary concepts and value of taxonomy and metadata are often misunderstood:
    64. 64. Managers, Designers, Architects
    65. 65. Content Publishers
    66. 66. End Users</li></li></ul><li>Complexity<br /><ul><li>Organizations design overly complex taxonomies and metadata strategies:
    67. 67. Too deep and too wide
    68. 68. Too much jargon
    69. 69. Too many fields
    70. 70. Too many pick options
    71. 71. Too much variation
    72. 72. Entry forms are often overly complex or lengthy</li></li></ul><li>Compliance<br /><ul><li>Regardless of training, education, threats, or enticements, many users will not provide effective Metadata
    73. 73. Even the “best” content contributors typically won’t exceed a certain effort threshold
    74. 74. Dilution Factor: The poor work of some devalues the good work of others</li></li></ul><li>Resistance to Change<br /><ul><li>Users will be averse to moving away from their existing ways of storing and finding information
    75. 75. Organizational to Topical
    76. 76. Secure access to more Open access
    77. 77. Content owners will fear losing control of their content
    78. 78. Content Managers will fear losing their “role”</li></li></ul><li>Design Best Practices<br />
    79. 79. Define Your Use Case<br /><ul><li>Understand how/why you will be using taxonomy and metadata
    80. 80. Define who your content managers are in order to understand their capabilities:
    81. 81. Willingness to manually enter fields
    82. 82. Ability to properly tag content
    83. 83. Define your audience to understand their needs:
    84. 84. Sorting needs
    85. 85. Communicate benefits to all users</li></li></ul><li>Keep Your Audience in Mind<br /><ul><li>Recognize that users may think about and look for information in different ways
    86. 86. Understand your business practices and use the most appropriate categorization method(s)
    87. 87. Consider multiple taxonomies for disparate audiences
    88. 88. Use familiar vocabulary and organizational schemas to ensure a logical browsing experience. </li></li></ul><li>Keep Your Audience in Mind<br /><ul><li>How will your users think about your content and products?</li></li></ul><li>Understand your audience<br /><ul><li>End users drive the language and complexity of the structure.
    89. 89. Who are they?
    90. 90. Who is the lowest common denominator?
    91. 91. Define the “spectrum of experience”:</li></ul>New Employee Tenured Employee<br />Technophobe Technophile<br />Older Younger<br />Foreign Language Native Language<br />
    92. 92. Understand your publishers<br /><ul><li>Publishers determine the reasonable complexity of a taxonomy/metadata strategy:
    93. 93. Acceptable amount of time per document
    94. 94. Number of metadata fields
    95. 95. Complexity of taxonomy</li></ul>Business Users Information Professional<br />Part-time (Volunteer) Dedicated Position<br />Many Publishers Few Publishers<br />Diverse Publisher Homogenous Publishers<br />
    96. 96. Understand your platform: CM, DM, RM, Portal <br /><ul><li>Taxonomy design seldom works outside the context of a business mission, typically tied to a technology:</li></li></ul><li>Define Governance<br /><ul><li>Apply the core governance principles to your taxonomy and metadata strategy:
    97. 97. Roles and Responsibilities
    98. 98. Managers
    99. 99. Reviewers
    100. 100. Policies
    101. 101. For naming
    102. 102. Required Fields
    103. 103. Procedures
    104. 104. For reviewing and approving metadata placement
    105. 105. For acting on poor metadata application</li></li></ul><li>Control Depth & Breadth<br />Depth<br /><ul><li>A “flat” taxonomy ensures that users can find information quickly
    106. 106. Avoid deep taxonomies:
    107. 107. May frustrate users with too many clicks
    108. 108. May indicate too much specification or too much information
    109. 109. Guideline: 2-4 levels deep</li></li></ul><li>Control Depth & Breadth<br />Breadth<br /><ul><li>A focused taxonomy ensures that users can easily “digest” the scope of information
    110. 110. Avoid overly broad taxonomies:
    111. 111. May frustrate users with too many initial options
    112. 112. May indicate your categories are too specific
    113. 113. Guideline: 10-15 top-level categories</li></li></ul><li>Example: Overwhelming Navigation<br />
    114. 114. Example: Easy to Scan Taxonomy<br /><ul><li>Top level is less than 15 items long
    115. 115. Easy to scan
    116. 116. Few clicks</li></li></ul><li>Make a Long-term Investment<br /><ul><li>Taxonomy development is an iterative and on-going effort
    117. 117. Respond to change: validate and modify regularly
    118. 118. Invest in dedicated, long-term resources
    119. 119. Initial effort must have foresight
    120. 120. Establish a solid foundation
    121. 121. Allow extensibility to accommodate new information
    122. 122. Plan for iterative development</li></li></ul><li>Workshop Concept<br />
    123. 123. The Workshop Concept<br />
    124. 124. Workshop Configuration<br />
    125. 125. Primary Goals<br /><ul><li>Define taxonomy, metadata, and related terms consistently
    126. 126. Set expectations for long and challenging process:
    127. 127. Establish overall goals – create a “Starter Taxonomy” and initial metadata strategy to be used as a jumping-off point
    128. 128. Create a value statement</li></ul>Creating a value statement ensures all participants are on the same mission, and can describe and disseminate the project the same way<br />
    129. 129. Business Case/Value Statement<br /><ul><li>Provide example of summary Business Case and Taxonomy Justification:
    130. 130. “We are constructing a business taxonomy to provide our users with an intuitive browse experience. Specifically, we want to construct a system that will allow both internal users (employees) and external users (customers) to navigate to find the latest product information, including sales reports. This will allow all users to access their core information faster, and with greater confidence. As a result, traffic on our website should increase by 40% and frequency of help desk calls should decrease by 20%.”</li></li></ul><li>Business Case/Value Statement<br /><ul><li>Five components of a successful business case:
    131. 131. Description of the issue - what’s changing?
    132. 132. Description of the issue’s importance - why are we changing?
    133. 133. Description of the benefits of addressing the issue - what’s in it for me now? Later?
    134. 134. Description of the costs associated with the change - what is the cost/benefit analysis for me and the business?
    135. 135. Measures for success - how will we know the change is accomplished? </li></li></ul><li>Audience<br />List all the potential audience (role) types for the taxonomy<br />For an external portal:<br /><ul><li>Employees
    136. 136. Channel Partners
    137. 137. Distributors
    138. 138. OEMs
    139. 139. Representatives
    140. 140. Consultants
    141. 141. Customers
    142. 142. OEMs
    143. 143. End Users
    144. 144. Business Partners
    145. 145. Public
    146. 146. Investors
    147. 147. Media
    148. 148. Analysts</li></ul>For a public website:<br /><ul><li>Educators
    149. 149. Pre-Teen
    150. 150. Teen
    151. 151. Adult
    152. 152. Students
    153. 153. Pre-Teen
    154. 154. Teen
    155. 155. Adult
    156. 156. Businesses
    157. 157. Community Members
    158. 158. Media/Press
    159. 159. Investors
    160. 160. Policymakers
    161. 161. Activists</li></li></ul><li>Verbs<br />Identify the “things we do”<br /><ul><li>Helps users move away from organizational lines
    162. 162. People have missions – the verbs align with the missions users need to accomplish / need for information</li></ul>Care for associates<br />Build<br />Design<br />Profit<br />Sell<br />Manufacture<br />Build<br />Deliver<br />Store<br />Ship<br />Support<br />Manufacture<br />Manufacture<br />Design<br />Purchase<br />Sell<br />Market<br />Ship<br />Ensure Safety<br />Provide Security<br />Test Quality<br />Train Users<br />Market<br />Purchase<br />Innovate<br />Provide Safety<br />Test<br />Market<br />Support<br />Guarantee<br />Train<br />Use<br />Buy<br />Write<br />Ship<br />Manufacture<br />Care for associates<br />Design<br />Support<br />Manufacture<br />Market<br />Ship<br />Ensure Safety<br />Provide Security<br />Learn<br />Teach<br />Protect<br />Serve<br />
    163. 163. Nouns<br />Identify the topics: Record all input, even repeats, for visual cognition!<br />Safety<br />Environment<br />Profit<br />Safety Training<br />Employee Benefits<br />Production<br />Quality Products<br />Sales<br />Marketing<br />Quality Control Dept<br />Products<br />People<br />Safety<br />Solutions<br />Products<br />Marketing<br />Research<br />Core Industries<br />Training<br />Teams<br />Competitors<br />Sales<br />Employees<br />Products<br />Research<br />Plant<br />Knowledge Management<br />Training<br />Customers<br />Products<br />Associates<br />Plan<br />Supply Chain<br />Infrastructure<br />Compliance<br />Products<br />Customers<br />Finance<br />Auditing<br />Associates<br />Knowledge<br />Customers<br />Computers<br />Supply Chain<br />Sales<br />Research<br />Products<br />Processes<br />Technology<br />Employees<br />Research<br />Safety<br />Services<br />Sales<br />Marketing<br />Safety<br />
    164. 164. Nouns - Topics<br />Map topics<br />
    165. 165. Nouns - Topics<br />Continue to map topics<br />Employees<br />Products<br />Research<br />Manufacturing<br />Safety/health<br />Sales/marketing<br />Financials<br />
    166. 166. The Starter Taxonomy<br /><ul><li>Employees
    167. 167. Products
    168. 168. Sales/Marketing
    169. 169. Financials
    170. 170. Safety/Health
    171. 171. Research
    172. 172. Manufacturing Process</li></li></ul><li>Metadata Collection<br />Capture the non-topics on separate listing and then define them<br />HR Department<br />Administration<br />Sales/Marketing<br />Legal Department<br />Public<br />Internal Users<br />Students<br />Business User<br />Management<br />Washington, DC<br />U.K.<br />New York Office<br />London Office<br />Forms<br />Policies<br />Procedures<br />News<br />Events<br />Meeting Minutes<br />Location =<br />Audience =<br />Organizational =<br />Document Types =<br />
    173. 173. Follow-on Process<br /><ul><li>Consistently and repeatedly test progress using combination of card sorting exercises, focus groups, and usability surveys
    174. 174. Engage additional end users for validation and guidance
    175. 175. Hold additional workshops to refine and provide greater detail
    176. 176. Utilize focus groups for further validation and naming
    177. 177. Match with analytics, content analysis, and technologies as complexity increases</li></li></ul><li>Taxonomy Development Process<br />Identify Business Case<br />
    178. 178. Thank you!<br /><br />