Buy, Build, Automate:
Why you should Buy Your Taxonomy
Chief Knowledge Architect
Knowledge Architecture Professional Services
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
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
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
Building a taxonomy is really hard
Custom built taxonomies are the most expensive way to do
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 –
Representing user’s thinking – but users think so badly!
The Solution – Buy Your Taxonomy
Formal taxonomies are fixed resource – little or no
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
There is no such thing as “One size fits all” with taxonomies
Building a taxonomy is expensive, hard to do and hard to
Automated algorithms don’t work with context, know the
relationships between topics, or understand your business
Classification on top of a formal taxonomy can represent
users perspective, support multiple applications, and
enhance communication within and between companies
Tom Reamy – KAPS Group – email@example.com
Jim Wessely – Advanced Document Services - firstname.lastname@example.org
Wendi Pohs – InfoClear Consulting –email@example.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
Taxonomies are not expensive – compared with search, CM,
portals – and not finding/using content