Full-day Taxonomy Workshop

Introduction to Taxonomy Design & Creation

Full-day pre-conference education session (workshop) of the SLA annual conference
Saturday, June 15, 2019
Huntington Convention Center, 300 Lakeside Ave E, Cleveland, Ohio 44114
Registration: SLA conference registration page
Fee: $225 SLA members; $415 nonmembers (separate from the main conference registration)

Workshop Description

Taxonomies are becoming increasingly important and common for organizing and retrieving information. Implementations include library systems, museum and archive systems, digital asset management systems, content management systems, document management systems, records management systems, web publishing, and data analysis. Through this workshop, information professionals can go beyond a basic understanding about taxonomies and learn the practical aspects of designing and creating taxonomies and thesauri so that they can take on or manage a taxonomy development project. Standards and best practices are important, but do not cover every situation, and there are numerous occasions when different factors need to be considered in making decisions in designing and creating taxonomies. This workshop provides guidance in making those decisions.

What You Will Learn

  • How to develop taxonomy terms and relationships between terms based on standards, best practices, and other considerations.
  • How to choose a taxonomy type and design a taxonomy structure to suit user needs.
  • How to manage and maintain a taxonomy.

Workshop Outline

  1. Definitions & Types of Controlled Vocabularies
    – Term list, synonym ring, authority file, taxonomy, thesaurus, and ontology
    – Comparisons of taxonomies and thesauri
  1. Applications, Uses, Benefits of Taxonomies and Other Controlled Vocabularies
    – Supporting both indexing and retrieval and for both search and browse
    – Benefits including resolving synonymy and polysemy, illustrated with examples
  1. Creating & Wording of Terms
    – Focusing in practical decisions and issues in term creation: whether to include a concept, choosing the preferred label, term format and style, distinguishing between terms with the same name, pre-coordination and post-coordination, term notes and attributes, terms in multiple languages
  1. Synonyms, Alternative Labels, Nonpreferred Terms
    – Differentiated in the thesaurus model and the SKOS model
    – Practical issues of when and how many to create in different circumstances
  1. Sources for Terms
    – Sources from content, people (stakeholders and users), and external reference sources
  1. Term Relationships
    – Hierarchical relationships
    – Associative (related-term) relationships
    – Customized, semantic relationships
  1. Structural Design
    – Suitability of structures, decision issues, information architecture considerations

    • Structural design of hierarchies
      – issues of depth and breadth, arrangement of the hierarchy, and display options
      – polyhierarchy advantages and disadvantages
    • Faceted taxonomies
      – definition, examples, advantages and disadvantages, design options and issues, design tips
    • Combinations of hierarchies and facets
  1. Software Tools
    – Major taxonomy/thesaurus/ontology management software vendors
    – Select live demos (as time allows)
  1. Project Process and Management
    – Project planning considerations
    – Different approaches for different types of taxonomies
  1. Governance
    – Taxonomy editorial policy for maintenance, indexing policy
    – Taxonomy maintenance issues