Edited by Alan Gilchrist and Barry Mahon (Facet; 2004). There were a couple of chapters on taxonomies. The book provides a very easy to read selection of essays from industry practitioners covering a range of IA themes. Problems for multinational taxonomies included the differences in English language usage and company structure between US and European companies. In arguing for investment in IA, (page 196) “reducing search time and frustration, enhancing knowledge sharing, are goals whose performance can be measured. Reducing the risk of litigation or of losing customers may also be used as sound arguments.”
Author Archives for Fran
Here’s a handy definition of a corporate taxonomy, from TFPL: “TFPL takes the view that a ‘corporate taxonomy’ can be viewed as an enterprise-wide master file of the vocabularies and their structures, used or for use, across the enterprise, and from which specific tools may be derived for various purposes, of which navigation and search support are the most prominent.”
I found this to be a useful article on usability issues.30 Usability Issues To Be Aware Of | Know-How | Smashing Magazine There is a handy glossary and a lot of comments. I particularly liked the way you can assign meaning by juxtaposition. I come across this all the time in text and it’s interesting to see it works just as well – if not better – purely visually.
I’ve recently had fascinating conversations with two professional taxonomists – one at EDS and one at the BBC – and both use very different but imaginative and innovative combinations of folksonomic and traditional taxonomic procedures. All the best taxonomists advocate consulting as much as possible with your users, which is obvious, and a folksonomy is pretty much a glorified mass user consultation exercise. But why stop with the consultation stage? You still get an awful lot of noise to your signal in folksonomies and the best way to clear that is still to apply some trained thoughtful evaluation – the... Read more »
This was a dinky little podcast on techwritervoices. A fairly light and simple introduction but with a couple of good examples. I particularly liked the description of information architecture as the art of digital librarianship.
First person: ‘Folksonomy’ takes power from expert librarians, an article by David Bowen of Bowen Craggs & Co in the Financial Times‘s Digital Business section on November 7th highlights some of the advantages of having a well-crafted carefully structured taxonomy instead of relying on folksonomies. He says that folksonomies are great in some cases, but that really valuable information is by definition specialised and therefore doesn’t get read by enough people for mass social tagging to be helpful. I think there are two key limitations to the usefulness of the folksonomic approach. Firstly, you need loads of people. If you... Read more »
I went to the ISKO UK conference Ranganathan Revisited on Monday sponsored by Factiva, which was very interesting indeed. There were 5 presentations – two on classification theory, a fascinating insight into how Factiva sort and output the thousands of news reports they process every day, an introduction to a very interesting new meta-analysis energy portal for monitoring trends in reporting, and a demonstration of Aduna’s Autofocus software that gives a visual representation of searches. One of the interesting and perennial themes that came up in conversations was the difference in approach of computer scientists from people with an information... Read more »
No taxonomy blog would be complete without a link to this: Understanding information taxonomy helps build better apps. It seems to be the article that everyone comes back to (or starts off with). A clear and simple explanation of how taxonomies form the backbone of most information architecture. I also noted a couple of good points about how the semantic web won’t run without them – a topic I intend to return to!
I have just read Eric L Reiss’ s book Practical Information Architecture (Addison Wesley; 2000). It seemed like a decent and sensible introduction to the subject, but it’s such a fast-moving area something written 7 years ago seems desperately old already. I picked up a few useful tips – for example it’s a bad idea to string several single word hyperlinks together, as people ignore the spaces and punctuation and assume it’s all just one big link and they also tend to ignore very short single-word hyperlinks, presumably because it is hard to guess what extra information the link will... Read more »
At UCL David Nicholas gave an interesting lecture on The Virtual Scholar. He pointed out that people are apparently now happy to make major life decisions based on the results they get from typing 1.8 words into Google (the average for a search). The information society is not much good if no-one is actually gaining any real knowledge. Do diminishing attention spans mean that we are happy just to flick through a few headlines that confirm our existing prejudices? It’s an Eddie Izzard joke about being “thinly read” but don’t we still need some people to read more than just... Read more »