As in dating or marriage, relationships are at the core of success. Making the same comparison in business or information technology might not be as different as you would think. The power of relationships when it comes to data and how you manage that data, is key to successfully locating and applying that data at a future time. Similar to investing early in a romantic relationship for a peaceful, productive relationship well into your senior years. Sort of.

Latent semantic indexing (LSI) is a natural language processing technique that analyzes relationships between a set of documents and the terms they contain. This results in search engines being able to identify related terms for keywords by researching through billions of pages and use these findings to evaluate whether a web page offers truly comprehensive content related to a topic.

Organizing your data in a database is a key step in ultimately finding it again when the time comes. No amount of search engine optimization can beat a solid taxonomy in helping you find the data. Your data can provide intelligence through analytics and predicting trends, etc., but only if it is properly organized.

Whether you already have a taxonomy or you need one created from scratch, it is important to partner with professionals who have experience in taxonomy development. A key step in building a custom taxonomy is working closely with subject matter experts. This is another example of an important relationship. This is an individual with a deep understanding of a particular process, topic, technology, science, or type of equipment. Subject matter experts have a unique expertise to solve specific problems or help meet particular technical challenges and are the best resource to create a taxonomy that accurately matches the depth and breadth of your data.

Perspective is key, as we hear time and time again. How one person or group of people look at a situation is likely very different from those on the other side of the coin. This is true with taxonomies as well. Who builds them and the perspective they bring to the project is key to its success or failure.

How the content is classified impacts the findability of your data. Professionals should look for an experienced builder of solid standards-based taxonomies to associate content for appropriate machine-assisted indexing.

Melody K. Smith

Sponsored by Access Innovations, the world leader in thesaurus, ontology, and taxonomy creation and metadata application.