Taxonomy – what’s in the name?
The term Taxonomy is used widely used across a range of contexts and depending on which discipline you follow you will encounter multiple definitions.
According to Wikipedia, the word taxonomy finds its roots in the Greek language: taxis (meaning ‘order’, ‘arrangement’) and nomos (‘law’ or ‘science’).
Originally, taxonomy referred only to the classifying of organisms or a particular classification of organisms. Now in a wider, more general sense, taxonomy refers to a classification of things or concepts, as well as to the principles underlying such a classification.
Taxonomy concepts and principles do vary according to discipline you work within (scientist, librarian, records manager, whatever) and the standards you adhere to. Many people have fixed ideas of what a taxonomy should be based on their own experiences of their own use case.
How to resolve these when you are given the task of building and deploying an enterprise-wide taxonomy?
What is a Taxonomy Framework?
At Synercon we developed this Taxonomy Framework as a means of demonstrating different taxonomy structures and components and how they combine to deliver a variety of information governance solutions.
It illustrates a data flow where:
- Concepts (terms) are harvested into a dataset,
- They are sorted into preferred (approved) concepts and their semantic equivalents (variants, synonyms, non-preferred terms),
- which are connected with relationships to build thesauri and ontologies,
- to be deployed into search engines to assist classification and discovery of information.
- Preferred concepts are organized into a library of controlled vocabularies,
- which are managed by governance stewards, in accordance with appropriate standards,
- From this library information architects can build a variety of taxonomic structures (lists, facets, trees, hierarchies, matrices, and maps)
- which can be linked to rules (retention schedules, security classifications, workflows)
- to be deployed into information systems,
- to assist with classification and management of information over time.
This Framework is scalable, extensible and provides the flexibility to meet all the needs of information developers, producers and consumers.
And it can all be built and managed using a.k.a.® software.
What are the benefits of a Taxonomy Framework?
A Taxonomy Framework is an information management tool that delivers on multiple fronts:
- a tool for tagging with metadata
- standardizing language across the enterprise and industry
- supporting collaboration and sharing
- enabling search and analytics
- enhancing governance requirements
No matter how you look at it, building quality taxonomies is critical for best practice information management.