Why taxonomies? Taxonomy Boot Camp London's experts explain

19 February 2018

Why are taxonomies more relevant than ever? Taxonomy Boot Camp London caught up with some of our previous speakers, all practitioners working in different environments, and asked them why taxonomies are vital to their organisations today.

Taxonomy, Metadata & Search Consultant and Taxonomy Boot Camp's Programme Chair, Helen Lippell, puts it very succinctly, "Taxonomies are the backbone of any project that aims to use information more effectively. A good taxonomy brings the power of human understanding to cutting-edge technologies as diverse as content management, machine learning and enterprise search". 

BBC Archivist Kathryn Stickley: “Taxonomy is the clear voice in the white noise of freetext searching, when much of your searchable metadata is arriving from multiple sources whose own reasons for being don’t always tally with those of an Archive.” 

Joe Pairman, Lead Consultant at Mekon Ltd: "Taxonomy helps users find chunks of information quickly (even on Google). It suggests new content when they are researching solutions and learning new ways to use products. It even improves the quality and accuracy of content itself, using consistent metadata to reduce mechanical work for authors." 

Jason McCullagh, Technical Account Executive at BA Insight: "Defined and functional taxonomies can help apply structure to content through the application of strong and consistent metadata. This helps organisations apply a standardised set to terms to help understand what content they have, what it is about and how to locate it. In turn meaning that taxonomies help with findability - improving search relevancy, powering search refinement, and driving portal navigation and improving the browsing experience.  All of these make people more productive and improve operational efficiency.

  "Taxonomies are vital and it is important to note that they are a living and breathing process. The idea is not try to build the world’s best taxonomy on day one, rather grow and develop them over time and in line with organisational development ..." 

Jeannine Beeken, CESSDA Thesaurus Co-ordination Officer at the University of Essex UK Data Service: “Taxonomies are careful drivers who facilitate the meaningful navigation through an interesting world of information, leading their passengers to all related content about a particular concept. They passed the driving test for controlled vocabularies, which are taught to describe and disambiguate sensibly, obeying the primary rule of getting to the desired destinations as quickly, precise and complete as possible.” 

Joyce van Aalten, Consultant at Invenier, “The key to a successful SharePoint environment, is a metadata strategy and taxonomy, so users can easily find and reuse content”. 

Roger Press, Director of Product Development at Academic Rights Press: "We publish sales data for the music industry across more than 30 countries covering 60+ years in Music ID. Taxonomies are key to enable customers to navigate the data sourced from Billboard, Soundscan, Official Charts, GfK and more. Without taxonomies the data sits in silos. Taxonomies give the data meaning, and new insights are derived. Our new data sets of streaming music across 74 countries takes our analytical platform Music ID to new highs, using taxonomies to connect the dots." 

Taxonomy Boot Camp London takes place on 16 & 17 October 2018 at Olympia London. Early bird discounts apply until 14 September. 40% discounts for multi delegate registrations.

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