I love making lists. Whether it is for groceries, household chores, creative projects, packing for travel – you name it, I make a list. It is productive and sadly, probably a little therapeutic – at least for me. I have also been known to do something, realize it wasn’t on my list, so I add it just to mark it off. The sweet satisfaction of crossing off items on my list borders on OCD. However, there is science that shows writing something down solidifies the goal and makes it more attainable. A study at Dominican University of California found once you put pen to paper on a goal, you are 33 percent more likely to actually achieve it. Not only do you become more motivated but you are reminded of your goal and become more accountable, too.

Taxonomists love lists as well. For these information science gurus, they are raw materials, the stuff to get their hands on to start organizing. Taxonomists strive for meaningful usability, which sometimes means distilling great quantities of material to its essence. In an exploration of how document managers can add value, Seth Maislin encapsulated their contributions in an essential six points.

Findability – finding things accurately and precisely

Speed – finding things quickly

Timeliness – finding things quickly, in manageable chunks and in context, with retrieval tuned to a user’s situation (read “relevance”)

Accessibility – content delivered in a way that’s usable, readable, printable, viewable on a device, etc.

Personalization content delivered to the correct audiences

Interpretation content with the right semantic meaning in the user’s context

Aside from the fact that the above is another list, it also demonstrates the fundamental way that document managers boost the value of content. It boils down to the value of enriching content by adding metadata, i.e. tagging, and more specifically, subject tagging or indexing. Subject indexing with a reliable and consistent vocabulary—a taxonomy—feeds findability, speed, relevant retrieval, personalization, and semantic precision. For the publisher, it serves search engine optimization, various types of metrics including altmetrics, e-commerce, and linked data for educational offerings or any other collections.

In basic list-making, a frequent mistake can be in putting too many items on a list. It needs categories and hierarchy. I only put items on my to-do lists that I have the time and resources to do that week. I am very deliberate about the way I prepare my lists and what gets put on them.

Much like a solid taxonomy and its role in the search process. How the content is classified impacts the findability of your data. Access Innovations has extensive experience in constructing taxonomies for academic publishers, and can provide solutions that are ANSI compliant.

Melody K. Smith

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