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					Buy, Build, Automate:
Why you should Buy Your Taxonomy

                Tom Reamy
        Chief Knowledge Architect
                KAPS Group
Knowledge Architecture Professional Services
        http://www.kapsgroup.com
Buy, Build, Automate – How to Decide?
 A hierarchy does not a taxonomy make.
   –   Browse structures, categorization engines, file plans
 Taxonomies are infrastructure resources, not a project
 Subject matter is important
   –   scientific standards – Mesh, etc.
   –   Limited domain – wine, geography
 What is it used for? Indexing, browsing.
 How is it evaluated? Formal metrics, usability



                                                               2
Automatic taxonomies aren’t
 Quality of automated taxonomies is poor.
   –   Unusual hierarchy, uneven granularity, weird node names
 Expensive software that does only one thing – and does it
  badly
 Taxonomies are about meaning – and automatic
  taxonomies are about co-occurring chicken scratches.
 Don’t forget the cost of the programmers to install,
  maintain, customize – and the upgrades!
 Still need human categorizers – edit, sanity check


                                                                 3
Building a taxonomy is really hard
 Custom built taxonomies are the most expensive way to do
  it.
 Who Builds? – taxonomist wannabe, consultant
   –   Taxonomy development is not for the faint of heart – it’s hard
       and requires special skills
   –   Mercy of high price consultant
 Hard to maintain – user’s change, so taxonomy needs to –
  often!
 Representing user’s thinking – but users think so badly!


                                                                        4
The Solution – Buy Your Taxonomy
 Formal taxonomies are fixed resource – little or no
  maintenance
 Formal taxonomies support communication
   –   Your content is not completely different
 Formal Quality Metrics
   –   Corpus, coverage, nomenclature, dependency
   –   No mixed classes, noun forms, proper speciation
   –   Bell Curve, balance of breadth and depth
 Quality of taxonomy is high – teams of professionals, vetted
  over years with multiple customers

                                                            5
Conclusion
 There is no such thing as “One size fits all” with taxonomies
 Building a taxonomy is expensive, hard to do and hard to
  maintain
 Automated algorithms don’t work with context, know the
  relationships between topics, or understand your business
  or application
 Classification on top of a formal taxonomy can represent
  users perspective, support multiple applications, and
  enhance communication within and between companies



                                                              6
                        Questions?
Tom Reamy – KAPS Group – tomr@kapsgroup.com

Jim Wessely – Advanced Document Services - jwessely@adocs.com

Wendi Pohs – InfoClear Consulting –wpohs@infoclearonline.com
Real Conclusion – all of the above
 Buy a taxonomy or find taxonomic resources – for some subjects
   –   Budget for customization
 Buy software that automates some of the process, especially
  categorization & content management
 Build taxonomies for some subjects – using software, existing
  taxonomies or other information structure resources
 Hire professionals – don’t try this at home
 Taxonomies are living, breathing, evolving structures – plan
  accordingly
 Taxonomies are not expensive – compared with search, CM,
  portals – and not finding/using content

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posted:9/12/2012
language:English
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