A taxonomy is essential infrastructure. Its visible forms such as menus and facets are only one application. It can also provide the crucial plumbing and wiring – the metadata and logic to guide your customers from Google to your site and finally, to the actual content they need.
It has to be said that most people have never heard of taxonomy. Others associate it exclusively with plants and animals. In tech comm, however, taxonomies relate to the classification of things in general – not just in biology, but for information of any kind. Most visible in the digital world are the tree-like structured taxonomies that we see in website menus.
When trying to tidy up the implicit taxonomies in your current tools and content – the directory structures and tables of contents – you might uncover ambiguities and conflicts in the ways you or your colleagues categorize and name things. In fact, if the classification tree is all you know of taxonomy for information delivery, you may well become disillusioned with its dogmatism and exclusivity, where each thing belongs in one container only.
As information delivery catches up with e-commerce, we are starting to realize the ...
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