Darin Stewart, writing on the Gartner blog discusses the ongoing rise in the popularity of taxonomies, in “It’s time for taxonomy“:
“In the early days, my audiences consisted mostly of library science refugees seeking shelter in corporate IT departments. I considered myself lucky if there were a dozen people in the room. Last week I attended the annual Microsoft SharePoint Conference in Anaheim, California, and realized things have changed a bit. The session on taxonomies was held in a room with a capacity of 900 people.” [Read More]
I must agree with Darin’s viewpoint, my own experience is that just 10-12 years ago, no one was particularly captivated by the benefits of taxonomies or controlled vocabularies, but the explosion of interest in metadata, DAM and Content Management has draw in a lot of new participants whose understanding does not always keep pace with their enthusiasm:
“With popularization comes the increased likelihood of dilution. As people, vendors in particular, jump on the buzzword bandwagon and co-opt terminology for their own nefarious purposes, concepts get muddled and best practices are lost. At the conference, I heard the phrase “unstructured taxonomy” being thrown around. This is an oxymoron at best and utter nonsense at worst. A taxonomy, by definition, is a structured vocabulary. The hierarchy is the whole point. There are other forms of vocabulary that are unstructured, but they are not taxonomies. The offending vendor in this case was attempting a neologism for ‘folksonomy’ and in the process confusing his audience and annoying the analysts. (maybe it was just me).” [Read More]
Clearly, there is still massive scope in the Content Management industry for education about the basics and much confusion on the part of many vendors too. I thought his observation that the benefits of controlled vocabularies were understood by managers, but not the practice of how to assemble them was very accurate and struck a chord with my own more recent experiences also. Let’s hope that in a few years, we’ll be hearing less about “unstructured taxonomies”.
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