Taxonomies for digital information management are no longer new, but their adoption is becoming more widespread. Taxonomy uses have expanded beyond traditional information publishing and e-commerce to include managing internal knowledge bases, intranets, marketplace and matchmaking services, technical documentation and help pages, regulated content for compliance, digital assets or media, user community content and customisable and reusable content for document creation, among others.
When I started giving conference presentations and workshops on taxonomies more than 15 years ago, I explained how taxonomies were versatile in supporting both search and browse for information retrieval in addition to enabling consistent tagging at the back-end. Over the years, this list of taxonomy uses has grown to also include information discovery, filtering and sorting of results, workflow management of content, metadata consistency for comparison and analysis, visualisation of topics, curated content in feeds or info boxes, sentiment analysis, personalised information, recommendation systems and question answering systems. Some of these also involve taxonomy support of knowledge graphs.
As the uses of taxonomies increase, more people are becoming involved in them. Furthermore, people who become involved in taxonomies are in increasingly varied roles. Taxonomies have diverse stakeholders, during both the taxonomy creation project and ongoing maintenance phase. These stakeholders include knowledge managers, information architects, user experience professionals, solution architects, search experts, digital asset managers, content managers, content strategists, product managers, text analytics linguists, data scientists, ontologists, etc. These people need a solid understanding of what is involved in creating, adapting and implementing a taxonomy, even if they do very little or no editing of the taxonomy themselves.
My own book, The Accidental Taxonomist, is targeted at those who need to build taxonomies, whether they want to start work as taxonomists or need to improve their existing taxonomy skills. This book, Taxonomies, is suitable for a broader audience that also includes taxonomy project managers and owners and those in the aforementioned related roles, while serving as an excellent resource for all taxonomists. It provides information needed to be a taxonomy manager or to manage taxonomies from any job role.
Some chapters address particular issues in taxonomy creation, others are dedicated to different aspects of taxonomy management and their implementations. This includes taxonomies and search engines, content management, digital asset management, metadata, e-commerce, taxonomy governance, maintenance, user testing and taxonomy software selection.