See how PoolParty’s taxonomy management methodology (https://www.poolparty.biz) is now supported even more efficiently by PoolParty’s latest release.
Documents can be added to a PoolParty document library in a variety of ways, including via URL, uploading Word or PDF files, copying and pasting, or even uploading a zip file; assigning metatags to the documents makes them easy to find later. Taxonomist Gaby Nicas demonstrates just how easy it is to add information to PoolParty and create new or add existing tags from the project thesaurus.
Importing a term set into an existing term group can be achieved in seconds. Within given term groups you can import built-out term sets with the click of a button. From this point it is a matter of moving selected terms from your imported set to desired locations. Check out this video to see the process unfold.
Sounds easy, right? Think again. Does the set you’ve just imported play well with others? Have you suddenly and unwittingly created a host of synonyms or rogue related terms? Importing a term set is deceptively easy, but the process must be governed.
The art and science of organizing terms and terminology – taxonomy — has recently gained a lot of buzz in corporate tech circles, so much so that taxonomy consultants like me no longer have to explain that we’re not about stuffing recently expired animals to make them appear life-like in their natural habitat. No, we don’t have to do that any longer.
And even though taxonomy as a concept and a practice is becoming firmly established in even small and midsize companies, information management systems haven’t really responded to the demand. Case in point: SharePoint 2010 is a shining example of how a taxonomy management tool can work within a document management system. And even then, I’d really only give it 3 out of 5 stars. It’s a work in progress, and even Microsoft would probably agree.
Go ahead and look around at the other top CMS systems out there (SharePoint, Documentum, OpenText, Drupal — heck, pick one!) and you’ll see why there are numerous taxonomy management software vendors out there in the market making a killing helping companies to manage taxonomies outside of their core content/document/asset management systems already paid for and in place.
It’s just not right.
Granted, taxonomies need technology to become active and provide value. And taxonomies, up to now, haven’t been the sexiest value-add to an information management system product feature list. Information management systems still haven’t caught up to harnessing the power and potential that a robust and well-defined set of taxonomies can provide end-users. That’s why we have taxonomy management software vendors (and I love ‘em all; they keep me busy!).
So, in the meantime, until information management software more thoroughly incorporates powerful taxonomy tools and capabilities into their offerings, what should you do to promote using a taxonomy in your company? Glad you asked.
Five Taxonomy Must Haves for Your Organization
5. A Taxonomy Maintenance Tool
In SharePoint 2010, it’s the Term Store. In other tools, it goes by various names. The point is that managing taxonomies in Microsoft Excel is just wrong. Get it out of Excel and into a managed system, no matter how poor that system may be. It’s at least a start. Once you commit to getting your taxonomies into a management tool, you need to retire the Excel merry-go-round of taxonomy maintenance. You can always modify the taxonomies later when your information management system vendor upgrades their product.
4. Employee Tagging
Even though professionally curated taxonomies are best, users are going to be one of the best sources of local tags. They’re called “system keywords” in SharePoint 2010, and they’re also known as “folksonomies” in other systems, but basically it’s users adding tags to documents, web pages, MySites, etc. that can really make taxonomies even more powerful. One note: I do not recommend tag clouds. I’ve always found them irritating and often hard to use. And most users don’t really know why one or two words are large, and others are small.
3. At Least One Robust Internal Taxonomy
It only takes one group, usually some energetic marketing or sales team, to build a “starter” taxonomy. From there, it’s a matter of using it as a model for other groups/divisions to build one of their own, or work with a taxonomy vendor to help build out more taxonomies across the enterprise. I’ve seen it happen over and over: no one cares about taxonomies until one group cares, then every group has to have one of their own. Get one group to publish their taxonomy and have them evangelize it throughout the company. Momentum will build.
2. Integrated Content Creation
Taxonomies work best when the content being created by the teams within the company is reflective of the terms in the taxonomy. Keyword-rich content is one of the best ways to improve one component of successful search results. It’s also a way for taxonomy software that auto-classifies content to do a better job of applying just the right set of tags to a document or a web page. This is a long-term goal and probably won’t get done right away. But it’s good to include it in a scoping document.
1. Management’s Blessing
Absolutely the most important part of building and maintaining a taxonomy is the ability to get management’s buy-in to financially support it. I know it sounds crazy to have something so political be the number one most important Taxonomy Must Haves for your company, but it’s true. I’ve seen many, many taxonomy projects start with the best of intentions by team leaders or small groups within a company, only to fail just as they were really hitting their stride due to lack of interest/understanding/support of management. Get your boss to invest in taxonomies.
Ever wonder how to make your taxonomies more useful in your enterprise content management system? For example, if you’re using SharePoint 2010, taxonomies can be made more valuable if content can be auto-classified. Check out how the taxonomy management tool DataFacet can be used to precisely control how auto-classification can be done to get better search results. Watch it here.
When tagging documents in SharePoint 2010, users may not always know the correct terms to apply – the terms established in your Term Store taxonomy. They may, to take a classic example, want to apply the term “doctor” when “physician” is the right tag to use.
You can help them out! Point users to the right tags by using the “Other Labels” feature in the Term Store Management tool. Attach synonymous terms, related terms, or abbreviations as alternate, or “other,” labels to your preferred terms; when users then try to apply to one of these alternate labels to a document, they’ll be steered to the official tag.
Watch the feature in action in this video.
Building a taxonomy in SharePoint 2010 can be a fantastic way to improve content findability and enhance search results using tags from a controlled vocabulary. However, even the best tags can sometimes go awry, and have to be removed from use. But wait! Don’t delete those out of date terms from your Term Store taxonomy. Deprecate them instead. Here’s how.
By deprecating terms, a clear record is left of the previous use of the tag, while preventing its further use when it is no longer applicable.
In this webinar hosted by the Competitive Intelligence and Taxonomy Divisions of the Special Libraries Association, Mike Doane and Zena Appelbaum present an exciting range of advice, tactics, and techniques for the users of SharePoint intranets.
Zena leads off with some useful tips for anyone starting and managing a SharePoint project, and then Mike does a deep dive into the SharePoint Term Store taxonomy tool, explaining the uses and benefits of taxonomies in SharePoint, how to create and import term sets into the Term Store, some governance considerations, and much, much more!
Most information management systems (e.g. CMSs, DAMs) allow you to add metadata to assets. But, this oftentimes has to be done one asset at a time. No fun. And it’s costly, to boot. No one wants to apply metadata to one asset at a time, especially during a content migration. There are exceptions, however.
NetXposure’s digital asset management system allows users to bulk edit assets–like images–all at once. This is faster and much less expensive than adding metadata one asset at a time. In addition, it’s all done using a clean, useful, customizable interface for metadata fields.
Check out this video to see how the NetXposure DAM system handles bulk metadata edits.
It’s always a risk when using user-generated keywords in your taxonomy. Not everyone is “careful” with their language usage when adding their own keywords, and some users don’t understand that sometimes keywords they enter could be used in a company’s entire tagging system. Watch out! However, user keywords can be a very useful addition to a taxonomy. Here’s our take on how to use those folksonomic terms. Watch it here.