The Taxobook: Part 2

The Taxobook: Part 2

Principles and Practices of Building Taxonomies, Part 2 of a 3-Part Series

Marjorie Hlava
ISBN: 9781627055802 | PDF ISBN: 9781627055819
Copyright © 2015 | 164 Pages | Publication Date: 11/01/2014

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This book outlines the basic principles of creation and maintenance of taxonomies and thesauri. It also provides step by step instructions for building a taxonomy or thesaurus and discusses the various ways to get started on a taxonomy construction project.

Often, the first step is to get management and budgetary approval, so I start this book with a discussion of reasons to embark on the taxonomy journey. From there I move on to a discussion of metadata and how taxonomies and metadata are related, and then consider how, where, and why taxonomies are used.

Information architecture has its cornerstone in taxonomies and metadata. While a good discussion of information architecture is beyond the scope of this work, I do provide a brief discussion of the interrelationships among taxonomies, metadata, and information architecture.

Moving on to the central focus of this book, I introduce the basics of taxonomies, including a definition of vocabulary control and why it is so important, how indexing and tagging relate to taxonomies, a few of the types of tagging, and a definition and discussion of post- and pre-coordinate indexing. After that I present the concept of a hierarchical structure for vocabularies and discuss the differences among various kinds of controlled vocabularies, such as taxonomies, thesauri, authority files, and ontologies.

Once you have a green light for your project, what is the next step? Here I present a few options for the first phase of taxonomy construction and then a more detailed discussion of metadata and markup languages. I believe that it is important to understand the markup languages (SGML and XML specifically, and HTML to a lesser extent) in relation to information structure, and how taxonomies and metadata feed into that structure. After that, I present the steps required to build a taxonomy, from defining the focus, collecting and organizing terms, analyzing your vocabulary for even coverage over subject areas, filling in gaps, creating relationships between terms, and applying those terms to your content. Here I offer a cautionary note: don't believe that your taxonomy is "done!" Regular, scheduled maintenance is an important (critical, really) component of taxonomy construction projects.

After you've worked through the steps in this book, you will be ready to move on to integrating your taxonomy into the workflow of your organization. This is covered in Book 3 of this series.

Table of Contents

List of Figures
Building a Case for Building a Taxonomy
Taxonomy Basics
Getting Started
Terms: The Building Blocks of a Taxonomy
Building the Structure of Your Taxonomy
Evaluation and Maintenance
Standards and Taxonomies
End Notes
Author Biography

About the Author(s)

Marjorie Hlava, Access Innovations, Inc., Albuquerque, New Mexico
Marjorie M.K. Hlava and her team have worked with or built over 600 controlled vocabularies. Their experience is shared with you in this book. Margie is well known internationally for her work in the implementation of information science principles and the ever-evolving technology that supports them. She and the team at Access Innovations have provided the "back room" operations for many information-related organizations over the last 40 years. Margie is very active in the main organizations concerned with those areas. She has served as president of NFAIS (the National Federation of Advanced Information Services); that organization awarded her the Anne Marie Cunningham Memorial Award for Exemplary Volunteer Service to the Federation in 2012, as well as the Miles Conrad lectureship in 2014. She has also served as president of the American Society for Information Science and Technology (ASIS&T), which has awarded her the prestigious Watson Davis Award and their top honor, the ASIS&T Award of Merit. She has served two terms on the Board of Directors of the Special Libraries Association (SLA); SLA has honored her with their President's Award for her work in standards and has made her a Fellow of the SLA for her many other services within the organization. More recently, she served as the founding chair of SLA's Taxonomy Division.


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