Taxonomy to the Rescue

A lot of clients ask for help explaining to their boss(es) the value of taxonomy. Here are three ways to answer that question:

1. ‘We need to be more efficient finding the information we’ve already created!’ Taxonomies can help people across a corporation find information faster and better.

2. ‘We need to make search work better!’ Better integration of search systems and taxonomy tagging can greatly improve search.

3. ‘We need to get our company intranet portal organized!’ Yes. Taxonomies can help organize the structures of your company’s portal. Done.

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Creating a Taxonomy Governance Checklist

This is a special guest blog post from Monica Caraway (mcaraway@uw.edu). Currently a graduate student in the University of Washington’s MLIS program, Monica is also Co-Chair of the UW Chapter of ASIS&T.

Due to the dynamic nature of human language, good taxonomies must grow and change over time in order to remain relevant to their target users: people trying to find information. The life cycle of a taxonomy includes much more than just the initial taxonomy development, and keeping this entire life cycle in mind from the beginning will ensure the long-term success of your taxonomy initiative. The three main life cycle phases are planning, development, and maintenance.

Following a proven strategy, we provide maintenance protocols created with these four core components of governance in mind:
1. Organizational structure: Who is responsible and has the power to make changes
2. Processes and procedures : How things get done
3. Standards, measures & practices: What is considered good
4. Tools and solutions : What helps get the job done

The systematic and intentional management of your taxonomy investment is vital to your organization’s goals. In our process, pertinent steps are organized across two domains:
1. Stage of development (pre-, during, and post-taxonomy implementation)
2. Role (executive, taxonomy team)

A successful taxonomy allows individual users to find the information salient to their particular positions based on the stage of the taxonomy’s development and the user’s particular role at the organization.

Our taxonomy governance checklist provides a detailed overview of the process we use to create successful taxonomies. For more information, contact Mike Doane (mike.doane@termmanagement.onmicrosoft.com).

Download/view the PDF.

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