It's TAXonomy Time by ProQuest


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It’s TAXonomy                                                           planning starts with spreadsheets, yet these efforts alone do not
                                                                        consider the broader need for a planned and governed
                                                                        categorization process, covering the subtleties of different views

Time                                                                    of findability: social tagging, synonym development, and
                                                                        graphical views of hierarchical categories expressed as folder
                                                                        “trees.” Those taxonomy trees keep growing too, and they need
                                                                        to be pruned and managed continuously.
      n April, when this column is printed, Americans will be              Taxonomy project teams often look to specialized tools as a

i     engaged in the annual ritual of calculating and paying state
      and federal taxes. Although tax activity is most intense in
April, we all pay taxes daily in many forms, such as sales tax. Just
                                                                        panacea. However, taxonomy software is growing more
                                                                        sophisticated and expensive, and few programs promise that the
                                                                        effort you’ve invested in spreadsheets can be reused. Unlike
as taxes have always been with us, so too have taxonomies. Like         TurboTax, which can import annual brokerage statements,
dealing with taxes, taxonomy management is an evolving process          taxonomy tools sometimes advertise “text” import or XML,
that never ends. There are many definitions of “taxonomy,” but          which is like asking what language a book is written in and being
I view them as merely the various ways we categorize and                told “text and numbers.”
manage groups of things so we can find them, whether they’re               To confirm my belief about taxonomy trends, I spoke with
dishes in a cupboard or scrolls in the ancient library of Alexandria.   representatives of two leading taxonomy consulting and product
    On several recent projects in different businesses sectors, I’ve    vendors, Earley & Associates and SchemaLogic. I spoke with Seth
heard “taxonomy” proposed as part of a hoped-for solution to            Earley, founder and president of Earley & Associates (whose firm
counter the collective sigh about the cost and difficulty of finding    purchased the taxonomy tool Wordmap), and Carol Hert, Ph.D.,
electronic files. I recently asked members of a taxonomy                chief taxonomist and consultant for SchemaLogic, Inc. Details are
discussion group whether they believe interest in taxonomies is         on my blog (, but two
growing, and to a person, they all insisted it was. Infor
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