Virtual Conference Taxonomy Workshop

Foundation for a Knowledge Graph: Taxonomy Design Best Practices

Connected Data World Conference
Thursday, December 2, 2022
8:00 am – 10:00 am EST for Part 1
10:15am – 12:15 pm EST for Part 2
Part of the 3-day virtual conference with no extra fee.
Full conference registration is £150 (approximately $207).
Use discount code CDW21SPEAKERA20  for 20% off.
Registration includes access to replays of this tutorial and all sessions.


Ontologies form the semantic framework for knowledge graphs, but to serve the purpose of linking data, ontologies need to be based on taxonomies or other controlled vocabularies, whose concepts are linked to data and tagged to content. There has also been a trend of greater integration of taxonomies and ontologies: ontologies are being adopted for wider business use, and taxonomies have been included in the W3C standards with widespread adoption of SKOS (Simple Knowledge Organization System).

While taxonomies are easier to design and create than ontologies, too often they are created without any skill or training, and poorly designed taxonomies yield poor results. This tutorial will cover the basics and best practices in taxonomy design, including: types of controlled vocabularies, standards, sources for topical concepts, wording of labels, alternative labels, hierarchical and associative relationships, and governance. This tutorial also explains the approach of semantically enriching an existing taxonomy to become an ontology by adding a semantic layer of an ontology or custom scheme.

Target Audience

  • Ontologists or knowledge engineers who are not experienced in creating taxonomies
  • Those who have a basic understanding of taxonomies or ontologies, but would like to know more
  • Managers of data, information, content, or knowledge


Most of the class will be lecture, along with Q&A and discussion, but there will be some interactive exercises.


Beginner – Intermediate

Prerequisite Knowledge

Basic familiarity and understanding of ontologies and taxonomies, but prior experience creating them is not required.

Part 1:


  • Introduction to taxonomies and ontologies: background, uses, purposes, and approaches
  • Taxonomies and other types of controlled vocabularies: characteristics and comparisons
  • Standards and models for controlled vocabularies: ANSI/NISO, ISO, SKOS
  • Sources for concepts: manual content analysis, term extraction, user interviews, brainstorming
  • Wording of labels: conventions and style


  • Identifying the most suitable controlled vocabulary type
  • Suggesting alternative labels


After part 1, participants will be able to:

  • Understand the diversity of knowledge organization systems and which are better suited for which situations
  • Know what resources to use in developing a taxonomy
  • Develop concepts and labels that best serve the users

Part 1 description link on conference website

Part 2:


  • Alternative labels: purpose, types, number of labels
  • Hierarchical relationships: purposes, types and best practices
  • Associative relationships: purposes and types
  • Governance: documentation and processes, such as for adding new concepts
  • Semantically enriching a taxonomy to extend it to become an ontology


  • Suggesting broader and narrower concepts
  • Suggesting related concepts
  • Semantic model design


After part 2, participants will be able to:

  • Construct taxonomy/thesaurus relationships according to standards and best practices
  • Extend a taxonomy into an ontology

Part 2 description link on conference website