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Buy, Build, Automate: Why you should Buy Your Taxonomy Tom Reamy Chief Knowledge Architect KAPS Group Knowledge Architecture Professional Services

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Presentation on theme: "Buy, Build, Automate: Why you should Buy Your Taxonomy Tom Reamy Chief Knowledge Architect KAPS Group Knowledge Architecture Professional Services"— Presentation transcript:

1 Buy, Build, Automate: Why you should Buy Your Taxonomy Tom Reamy Chief Knowledge Architect KAPS Group Knowledge Architecture Professional Services

2 2 Buy, Build, Automate – How to Decide?  A hierarchy does not a taxonomy make. – Browse structures, categorization engines, file plans  Taxonomies are infrastructure resources, not a project  Subject matter is important – scientific standards – Mesh, etc. – Limited domain – wine, geography  What is it used for? Indexing, browsing.  How is it evaluated? Formal metrics, usability

3 3 Automatic taxonomies aren’t  Quality of automated taxonomies is poor. – Unusual hierarchy, uneven granularity, weird node names  Expensive software that does only one thing – and does it badly  Taxonomies are about meaning – and automatic taxonomies are about co-occurring chicken scratches.  Don’t forget the cost of the programmers to install, maintain, customize – and the upgrades!  Still need human categorizers – edit, sanity check

4 4 Building a taxonomy is really hard  Custom built taxonomies are the most expensive way to do it.  Who Builds? – taxonomist wannabe, consultant – Taxonomy development is not for the faint of heart – it’s hard and requires special skills – Mercy of high price consultant  Hard to maintain – user’s change, so taxonomy needs to – often!  Representing user’s thinking – but users think so badly!

5 5 The Solution – Buy Your Taxonomy  Formal taxonomies are fixed resource – little or no maintenance  Formal taxonomies support communication – Your content is not completely different  Formal Quality Metrics – Corpus, coverage, nomenclature, dependency – No mixed classes, noun forms, proper speciation – Bell Curve, balance of breadth and depth  Quality of taxonomy is high – teams of professionals, vetted over years with multiple customers

6 6 Conclusion  There is no such thing as “One size fits all” with taxonomies  Building a taxonomy is expensive, hard to do and hard to maintain  Automated algorithms don’t work with context, know the relationships between topics, or understand your business or application  Classification on top of a formal taxonomy can represent users perspective, support multiple applications, and enhance communication within and between companies

7 Questions? Tom Reamy – KAPS Group – Jim Wessely – Advanced Document Services - Wendi Pohs – InfoClear Consulting

8 8 Real Conclusion – all of the above  Buy a taxonomy or find taxonomic resources – for some subjects – Budget for customization  Buy software that automates some of the process, especially categorization & content management  Build taxonomies for some subjects – using software, existing taxonomies or other information structure resources  Hire professionals – don’t try this at home  Taxonomies are living, breathing, evolving structures – plan accordingly  Taxonomies are not expensive – compared with search, CM, portals – and not finding/using content


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