Sunday, November 4, 2007

IL2007 - Session B205 — Developing a Taxonomy

Session B205 — Developing a Taxonomy
4:15 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Kathryn Breininger
& Mary Whittaker, Librarians, The Boeing Company

I'll start of with – this session just blew my mind. All the Work. All the effort. All the people involved. All the cost. All the buy in from all levels. All the time.

There must have been an incredible problem for them to have invested so so very much.

Setting the stage – from Outsell survey – 13 hr / week searching and analyzing information; 2 hr more than 2 years ago

Information overload

People don't know what words to search for

No two people organize the same way

Taxonomy – controlled vocabulary – hierarchical – broader and narrower terms – equivalent terms as well

Word list – synonym ring – taxonomy – thesaurus – ontology

Z39.9 standard for controlled vocabulary


- Avoid reinvention an existing taxonomy

- Construction methods

- Dimensions

- Size of taxonomy

- Facets

- Intended use


- Determine requirements

- Identify concepts

- Develop draft taxonomy

- Review with users and audience

- Refine taxonomy

- Apply to content

- Manage and maintain taxonomy

Manual tagging of existing content

- Time and effort – is it worth it

- Time for maintenance

- Version control

Constant analysis of results and search errors

Terms used excessively or rarely need to be examined

When testing – do you get good results – does it match user expectations – user evaluation – expert evaluation – various methods of testing – qualitative testing – measurable or subjective

Engaging People

- strong sponsor

- obtain user buy in

- IT handles software

- subject experts, librarians, owners handle taxonomy

- keep team smallish, manageable

Process for term suggestions

Process for handling comments

Process for communication

Process for appeals

Release schedules

Team charters available at IL2007 site later

Taxonomy implementation drivers

- Search inefficiencies

- Bottom line impacted by inabiligy to find info

- IT pressured to find solution

- Content management systems

- Knowledge management initiatives

Tag content at creation

- Integrate all taxonomies into one

- Owned by those who classify

- Incorporate with search functions

Productivity benefits

- More time for analysis since search was faster

- Less duplication of effort

- Fewer poor decisions due to lack of information

- More focus on info as strategic asset

- More internal knowledge sharing

- Better understanding of terminology

- Structure brings context to terms

- Facilitates browsing

- Standardized access

- Brings fragmented content together

- Reflects scope of business

- Assists in learning the domain

- Supports business goals


- It is a cost

- Tagged content must be used

- Technology cost

- Time cost

- Integrate for maximum ROI

- Phased rollout

- Need strong political buy in

- Subject matter experts are important

- Automated tools can get it wrong – human review


- Corporate lingo

- Department names

- Undefined acronyms

- Over thinking

- Over engineering

- Unneeded sections

- Proprietary system for taxonomy management


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