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4460Re: New Here

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  • Claude Baudoin
    Sep 7, 2012
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      Others have already replied authoritatively about your questions, but I’ll pitch in too.


      I spent 10 months (July 2011 to April 2012) helping a multinational technical company complete, clean up, improve and integrate a taxonomy (which was in draft stage when I started) aimed at SharePoint content classification/search, as well as organizing content in several legacy document management systems and other web-based applications. The “finished” taxonomy (it’s never finished, but by April it had reached the “maintenance” stage in terms of content) has 12 facets and about 4000 terms. So if you want to pick my brains, even in a “frugal” way, we can talk.


      In terms of starting from scratch, here’s what I would recommend:

      ·         Beg, borrow or steal what you can, both from existing internal systems, which often have a de facto list of keywords, menu structures, etc., that all represent seeds for a taxonomy, and from outside sources. It’s funny how sometimes just a Wikipedia article on a subject has a table of contents that gives you ideas about a taxonomy!

      ·         Involve users and stakeholders through interviews and workshops.

      ·         They will invariably start any discussion with “what the heck is this, why do we need to spend time on it, and how will it improve our life?” so you need to have a clear, concise, consistent and supported message about what a taxonomy is, what real problems it solves, what’s expected of them, when will they see results, etc., and they need to be routinely informed of the progress.

      ·         For that reason, I would really recommend that the taxonomy be developed in such a way that it is visible to everyone in the organization in a read-only Web page. There are tools that will do that. Then you can show everyone the progress you’re making, in almost real time.


      Feel free to contact me for more brainstorming if you want.


      I second Alice’s recommendation about Heather Hedden’s book, which I found very valuable (I think Alice may have been the one recommending it to me in the first place), and also about the Taxonomy Boot Camp, which is the key annual event in this field (but it requires travel funding, obviously, and I have a client who was planning to go and had to cancel when budgets were cut; if you can get approval, you should definitely try to go).


      Claude Baudoin

      cébé IT & Knowledge Management

      Austin, TX

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