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Model of Taxonomy Development. Tom Reamy Chief Knowledge Architect KAPS Group Knowledge Architecture Professional Services Agenda. Introduction Infrastructure Model of Taxonomy Development Taxonomy in 4 Contexts Content, People, Processes, Technology

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Model of taxonomy development

Model of Taxonomy Development

Tom ReamyChief Knowledge Architect

KAPS Group

Knowledge Architecture Professional Services


  • Introduction

  • Infrastructure Model of Taxonomy Development

    • Taxonomy in 4 Contexts

      • Content, People, Processes, Technology

  • Infrastructure and Theory

    • Beyond Search and Taxonomy Projects

  • Infrastructure Solutions – the Elements

  • Applying the Model – Practical Dimension

    • Starting and Resources

    • Infrastructure Look at Taxonomy Boot Camp

  • Conclusion

Kaps group
KAPS Group

  • Knowledge Architecture Professional Services (KAPS)

  • Consulting, strategy recommendations

  • Knowledge architecture audits

  • Partners – Convera, Inxight, and others

  • Taxonomies: Enterprise, Marketing, Insurance, etc.

    • Taxonomy customization

  • Intellectual infrastructure for organizations

    • Knowledge organization, technology, people and processes

    • Search, content management, portals, collaboration, knowledge management, e-learning, etc.

Infrastructure model of taxonomy development taxonomy in basic 4 contexts
Infrastructure Model of Taxonomy DevelopmentTaxonomy in Basic 4 Contexts

  • Ideas – Content Structure

    • Language and Mind of your organization

    • Applications - exchange meaning, not data

  • People – Company Structure

    • Communities, Users, Central Team

  • Activities – Business processes and procedures

    • Central team - establish standards, facilitate

  • Technology / Things

    • CMS, Search, portals, taxonomy tools

    • Applications – BI, CI, Text Mining

Taxonomy in context structuring content
Taxonomy in ContextStructuring Content

  • All kinds of content and Content Structures

    • Structured and unstructured, Internet and desktop

  • Metadata standards – Dublin core+

    • Keywords - poor performance

    • Need controlled vocabulary, taxonomies, semantic network

  • Other Metadata

    • Document Type

      • Form, policy, how-to, etc.

    • Audience

      • Role, function, expertise, information behaviors

    • Best bets metadata

  • Facets – entities and ideas


Taxonomy in context structuring people
Taxonomy in Context:Structuring People

  • Individual People

    • Tacit knowledge, information behaviors

    • Advanced personalization – category priority

      • Sales – forms ---- New Account Form

      • Accountant ---- New Accounts ---- Forms

  • Communities

    • Variety of types – map of formal and informal

    • Variety of subject matter – vaccines, research, scuba

    • Variety of communication channels and information behaviors

    • Community-specific vocabularies, need for inter-community communication (Cortical organization model)

Taxonomy in context structuring processes and technology
Taxonomy in Context:Structuring Processes and Technology

  • Technology: infrastructure and applications

    • Enterprise platforms: from creation to retrieval to application

    • Taxonomy as the computer network

      • Applications – integrated meaning, not just data

  • Creation – content management, innovation, communities of practice (CoPs)

    • When, who, how, and how much structure to add

    • Workflow with meaning, distributed subject matter experts (SMEs) and centralized teams

  • Retrieval – standalone and embedded in applications and business processes

    • Portals, collaboration, text mining, business intelligence, CRM

Taxonomy in context the integrating infrastructure
Taxonomy in Context:The Integrating Infrastructure

  • Starting point: knowledge architecture audit, K-Map

    • Social network analysis, information behaviors

  • People – knowledge architecture team

    • Infrastructure activities – taxonomies, analytics, best bets

    • Facilitation – knowledge transfer, partner with SMEs

  • “Taxonomies” of content, people, and activities

    • Dynamic Dimension – complexity not chaos

    • Analytics based on concepts, information behaviors

  • Taxonomy as part of a foundation, not a project

    • In an Infrastructure Context

Infrastructure model of taxonomy development infrastructure vs project approaches
Infrastructure Model of Taxonomy Development Infrastructure vs. Project Approaches

  • Economist June 9, 2005:

    • Overdue and over budget, over and over again.

    • Companies are increasingly keen on projects.

    • Why? When so many of them fail.

  • Failure to integrate all relevant contexts

  • Under-developed understanding of contexts

  • Ideas – least developed infrastructure

  • Closure is an illusion.

Infrastructure model of taxonomy development project approach or infrastructure approach
Infrastructure Model of Taxonomy Development :Project Approach or Infrastructure Approach

  • Situation: Problem with access to information

    • Project Approach

      • Publish everything on the intranet

      • Buy a search engine

      • Do some keyword and usability tests

      • Buy a portal (or two)

      • Buy content management software

      • Try knowledge organization – taxonomy?

    • Infrastructure Approach

      • “The path up and down is one and the same.” (Heraclitus)

Infrastructure model of taxonomy development the infrastructure solution why
Infrastructure Model of Taxonomy Development The Infrastructure Solution: Why

  • Immanuel Kant

    • Concepts without percepts are empty.

    • Percepts without concepts are blind.

  • Knowledge Management

    • KM/KA without applications is empty

      • Strategy only, management fad

      • Elegant taxonomies - unused

    • Applications without KA are blind

      • IT based KM

      • Fragmented applications

Infrastructure model of taxonomy development the infrastructure solution why1
Infrastructure Model of Taxonomy Development The Infrastructure Solution: Why

  • Taxonomies are not for the timid

    • Software and SME’s is not the answer

      • Example of keywords

  • Taxonomies not stand alone

    • Metadata, controlled vocabularies, synonyms, etc.

    • Variety of taxonomies, plus categorization, classification, etc.

      • Important to know the differences, when to use which

  • Integrated Enterprise requires both an infrastructure team and distributed expertise.

  • Advanced Cognitive Differences

    • Panda, monkey, banana

Infrastructure model of taxonomy development the infrastructure solution why2
Infrastructure Model of Taxonomy Development The Infrastructure Solution: Why

  • In a Word – Word

  • Infrastructure as Operating System

    • Word vs. Word Perfect

    • Instead of sharing clipboard, share information and knowledge.

  • Importance of Integration

  • ROI – asking the wrong question

    • What is ROI for having an HR department?

  • A Political Fable – Finding the right set of answers

Infrastructure solutions the start and foundation knowledge architecture audit
Infrastructure Solutions: The start and foundationKnowledge Architecture Audit

  • Knowledge Map - Understand what you have, what you are, what you want

    • The foundation of the foundation

  • Contextual interviews, content analysis, surveys, focus groups, ethnographic studies

  • Category modeling – “Intertwingledness” -learning new categories influenced by other, related categories

  • Natural level categories mapped to communities, activities

    • Novice prefer higher levels

    • Balance of informative and distinctiveness

  • Living, breathing, evolving foundation is the goal

  • Infrastructure solutions resources people and processes roles and functions
    Infrastructure Solutions: ResourcesPeople and Processes: Roles and Functions

    • Knowledge Architect and learning object designers

    • Knowledge engineers and cognitive anthropologists

    • Knowledge facilitators and trainers and librarians

    • Part Time

      • Librarians and information architects

      • Corporate communication editors and writers

    • Partners

      • IT, web developers, applications programmers

      • Business analysts and project managers

    Infrastructure solutions resources people and processes central team
    Infrastructure Solutions: Resources People and Processes: Central Team

    • Central Team supported by software and offering services

      • Creating, acquiring, evaluating taxonomies, metadata standards, vocabularies

      • Input into technology decisions and design – content management, portals, search

      • Socializing the benefits of metadata, creating a content culture

      • Evaluating metadata quality, facilitating author metadata

      • Analyzing the results of using metadata, how communities are using

      • Research metadata theory, user centric metadata

      • Design content value structure – more nuanced than good / poor content.

    Infrastructure solutions resources people and processes facilitating knowledge transfer
    Infrastructure Solutions: ResourcesPeople and Processes: Facilitating Knowledge Transfer

    • Need for Facilitators

      • Amazon hiring humans to refine recommendations

      • Google – humans answering queries

    • Facilitate projects, KM project teams

      • Facilitate knowledge capture in meetings, best practices

    • Answering online questions, facilitating online discussions, networking within a community

    • Design and run KM forums, education and innovation fairs

    • Work with content experts to develop training, incorporate intelligence into applications

    • Support innovation, knowledge creation in communities

    Infrastructure solutions resources people and processes location of team
    Infrastructure Solutions: ResourcesPeople and Processes: Location of Team

    • KM/KA Dept. – Cross Organizational, Interdisciplinary

    • Balance of dedicated and virtual, partners

      • Library, Training, IT, HR, Corporate Communication

    • Balance of central and distributed

    • Industry variation

      • Pharmaceutical – dedicated department, major place in the organization

      • Insurance – Small central group with partners

      • Beans – a librarian and part time functions

    • Which design – knowledge architecture audit

    Infrastructure solutions resources technology
    Infrastructure Solutions: ResourcesTechnology

    • Taxonomy Management

      • Text and Visualization

    • Entity and Fact Extraction

    • Text Mining

    • Search for professionals

      • Different needs, different interfaces

    • Integration Platform technology

      • Enterprise Content Management

    Infrastructure solutions taxonomy development initial development customization
    Infrastructure Solutions: Taxonomy DevelopmentInitial Development / Customization

    • Combination of top down and bottom up (and Essences)

      • Top: Design an ontology, facet selection

      • Bottom: Vocabulary extraction – documents, search logs, interview authors and users

      • Develop essential examples (Prototypes)

        • Most Intuitive Level – genus (oak, maple, rabbit)

        • Quintessential Chair – all the essential characteristics, no more

    • Map the taxonomy to communities and activities

      • Category differences

      • Vocabulary differences

    Infrastructure solutions taxonomy development evaluate and refine
    Infrastructure Solutions: Taxonomy DevelopmentEvaluate and Refine

    • Formal Evaluation

      • Quality of corpus – size, homogeneity, representative

      • Breadth of coverage – main ideas, outlier ideas (see next)

      • Structure – balance of depth and width

    • Practical Evaluation

      • Test in real life application

      • Test node labels with Subject Matter Experts, representative users and documents

      • Test with representative key concepts

      • Test for un-representative strange little concepts that only mean something to a few people but the people and ideas are key and are normally impossible to find

    Infrastructure solutions taxonomy development issues and ideas
    Infrastructure Solutions: Taxonomy DevelopmentIssues and Ideas

    • Enterprise Taxonomy

      • No single subject matter taxonomy

      • Need an ontology of facets or domains

    • Standards and Customization

      • Balance of corporate communication and departmental specifics

      • At what level are differences represented?

      • Customize pre-defined taxonomy – additional structure, add synonyms and acronyms and vocabulary

    • Enterprise Facet Model:

      • Actors, Events, Functions, Locations, Objects, Information Resources

      • Combine and map to subject domains

    Infrastructure approach taxonomy boot camp
    Infrastructure Approach:Taxonomy Boot Camp

    • Making the business case:

      • Sell as infrastructure, platform, foundation – not a project

      • Project within contexts, not end in itself

    • Defining the requirements

      • Not just for the project, but how it will fit with other projects

      • Criteria for decisions – strategy options, types

    • Developing an Enterprise Taxonomy

      • Decide how and when and whether to

      • Mix of global and local

    • Making the build, buy, automate decision

      • Make a better, deeper decision

    Infrastructure approach taxonomy boot camp1
    Infrastructure Approach:Taxonomy Boot Camp

    • Building A Taxonomy

      • Keeping broader and multiple contexts in mind

    • Integration and Implementation

      • Major area for infrastructure approach

      • Applications, communication, users

    • Testing & Usability

      • Usability in different applications and user communities

      • Need a map of user communities, activities

    Infrastructure approach taxonomy boot camp2
    Infrastructure Approach:Taxonomy Boot Camp

    • Governance & Maintenance

      • Part of people infrastructure – organizational issues

      • Partnership of central team and business, SME’s

    • Enterprise Taxonomy – Groundwork, Governance, Connections

      • Infrastructure approach doesn’t mean start big, do it all at once

    • Facets & Folksonomies

      • To Facet or not to Facet

      • Complexity Theory and Folksonomies

      • Central Group, but not management, control

    Infrastructure approach taxonomy boot camp3
    Infrastructure Approach:Taxonomy Boot Camp

    • Strategies & Tools

      • Strategies

        • Think Big, Start Small, Scale Fast

        • Foundation as a separate project

      • Tools

        • Integration as important as features

        • Support for all phases of taxonomy development

        • Platform software – CMS, KM, LMS


    • Taxonomy development is not just a project

      • It has no beginning and no end

    • Taxonomy development is not an end in itself

      • It enables the accomplishment of many ends

    • Taxonomy development is not just about search or browse

      • It is about language, cognition, and applied intelligence

    • Strategic Vision (articulated by K Map) is important

      • Even for your under the radar vocabulary project

    • Paying attention to theory is practical

      • So is adapting your language to business speak


    • Taxonomies are part of your intellectual infrastructure

      • Roads, transportation systems not cars or types of cars

    • Taxonomies are part of creating smart organizations

      • Self aware, capable of learning and evolving

    • If we really are in a knowledge economy

    • We need to pay attention to –

    • Knowledge!



    Tom [email protected]

    KAPS Group

    Knowledge Architecture Professional Services