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 The Accidental Taxonomist
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About Heather Hedden


The Accidental Taxonomist
by Heather Hedden

Published by Information Today Inc.
464 pages/softbound
ISBN 978-1-57387-397-0
Price: $39.50

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Summary & Endorsements
Table of Contents
Foreword by Patrick Lambe
Chapter 1
Web Sites from the Book

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The Accidental Taxonomist

Publisher's Summary

The Accidental Taxonomist is the most comprehensive guide available to the art and science of building information taxonomies. Heather Hedden—one of today’s leading writers, instructors, and consultants on indexing and taxonomy topics—walks readers through the process, displaying her trademark ability to present highly technical information in straightforward, comprehensible English.

Drawing on numerous real-world examples, Hedden explains how to create terms and relationships, select taxonomy management software, design taxonomies for human versus automated indexing, manage enterprise taxonomy projects, and adapt taxonomies to various user interfaces. The result is a practical and essential guide for information professionals who need to effectively create or manage taxonomies, controlled vocabularies, and thesauri.



In The Accidental Taxonomist, Heather Hedden has taken on the prickly challenge of setting definitions to the very terms her community of peers has trouble agreeing on! She clearly details the conceptual and practical notions of controlled vocabularies so that newcomers to the field can understand what they’ve gotten themselves into and experienced practitioners can have a common frame of reference. This work is richly packed and will become a standard reference book in the field. Ms. Hedden has taken on the challenge of controlling the terms of controlled vocabularies and provided a valuable reference book in the process.
—Christine Connors, Principal, TriviumRLG LLC

From the novice taxonomist to the experienced professional, all will find good, practical advice in The Accidental Taxonomist.
—Trish Yancey, COO Synaptica, LLC

This book squarely addresses the growing demand for and interest in taxonomy. ... Heather brings a variety of background experience, including not only taxonomy construction but also abstracting and content categorization and creating back-of-book indexes. These experiences serve her well by building a broad perspective on the similarities as well as real differences between often overlapping types of work.
—Marjorie M. K. Hlava, President and Chairman, Access Innovations, Inc., and Chair, SLA Taxonomy Division

     This book has a lighthearted title but it is clearly not for the casual reader. It is for someone preparing to get serious about taxonomies and building them. As the author makes clear, one cannot dip a toe into the waters of taxonomy preparation and expect to get great or even good results. Water is an apt metaphor because vocabulary is highly fluid; maintaining control of its application requires great focus, active learning, and attention to the numerous details of the project at hand.
     For anyone challenged to build a business case for launching a taxonomy project, someone who needs to lead a building project, or is asked to participate on a taxonomy team – this book is the resource you needed to fully understand what you are about to dive into. Open it to begin the learning process or to refresh your understanding of the depth and breadth of this demanding discipline.
     The Accidental Taxonomist can be used as a reference book, a text book or collection of topical essays that roll up a web of information related to taxonomy building in a single source. It gives good exposure to possibilities for professional growth in the field while describing, not prescribing, the many facets of the discipline
—Lynda Moulton, Principal Consultant, LWM Technology Services, and Analyst, Enterprise Search for the Gilbane Group a division of Outsell, Inc.