Let’s start with the basics. Taxonomy is the organization of content into categories or topics and audiences to define content types. Taxonomies exist in every industry from science to information management to healthcare. Taxonomies provide consistency in terms and categories to enable findability in content.
Findability is the ease with which information can be found. It means that users can easily find content or information they assume is present on a website. A good knowledge management strategy also promotes discoverability, which involves making sure that new content or information can be found, even if the user doesn’t know that it exists yet.
At first glance, the terms “findability” and “discoverability” may seem to refer to similar things. However, these concepts are very different, and both are key outcomes that should be considered in any comprehensive knowledge management strategy.
Most people have an intuitive understanding of what a taxonomy is, even if they can’t necessarily articulate it clearly. The Linnaeus Taxonomy, for instance, should be familiar to any student of biology, as it roughly shows how different animals are related. The Dewey Decimal System and the Library of Congress classification system both provide ways to map topical content for books and related media to a continuum. Most governments maintain taxonomies of job titles and classifications, primarily for tax purposes.
Content without access is relatively worthless. Enterprise search is how an organization helps people seek the information they need, in any format, from anywhere inside their company. This includes databases, document management systems or even information on paper. It’s about getting the right information at the right time.
Implementing a taxonomy for your information is key to ensuring it’s findable, shareable and usable across your organization and digital experiences. Indexing against a solid taxonomy is key. Of course, for good indexing you should have a comprehensive standards-based taxonomy. How the content is classified impacts the findability of your data.
A standards-based taxonomy can help you provide clear order to your data, which enables comprehensive search results. Standards are key to a solid taxonomy and comprehensive indexing.
Melody K. Smith
Sponsored by Access Innovations, the world leader in thesaurus, ontology, and taxonomy creation and metadata application.