Friday, November 18, 2011
Taxonomy is very important in content management. It ensures that search and navigation work properly and that content is accessible and can be found via two access points: searching and browsing.
Taxonomy is the science and practice of classification. The word is derived from Greek words "taxis" meaning "arrangement" and "nomia" which means "method". Taxonomy uses taxonomic units, known as taxa (singular taxon). A taxonomy, or taxonomic scheme, is a particular classification ("the taxonomy of ..."), arranged in a hierarchical structure or classification scheme.
Taxonomy is organized by supertype-subtype relationships, also called generalization-specialization relationships, or less formally, parent-child relationships. Once a taxonomy tree has been created, all the items in the tree are tagged as belonging to one or more specific taxonomy categories. This process is typically referred to as "categorization", "tagging" or "profiling". Users can then browse and search within specific categories.
In such an inheritance relationship, the subtype by definition has the same properties, behaviours, and constraints as the supertype plus one or more additional properties, behaviours, or constraints. For example: a bicycle is a kind of vehicle, so any bicycle is also a vehicle, but not every vehicle is a bicycle. Therefore a subtype needs to satisfy more constraints than its supertype. Thus to be a bicycle is more constraint than to be a vehicle.
Historically used by biologists to classify plants or animals according to a set of natural relationships, in content management and information architecture, taxonomy is used as a tool for organizing content. Creating a taxonomy is central to any enterprise content strategy as means of organizing content so that it could be found by either searching or browsing.
Here is an example of food taxonomy:
Next time: more about taxonomy as it applies to content management and the best strategies to develop it.