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Your Information Center Website Development

What are taxonomies and why are they so important?

A taxonomy is a fancy term for a keyword list, subject / topic list, a common vocabulary - essentially any list of terms that a group of people agree to use when referring to a set of items.

A directory is a type of taxonomy. For example, the Yahoo Directory. Library of Congress Subject Headings comprise a taxonomy. Any time you have made a selection from a drop down list of choices, you have picked a term from a taxonomy.

For many of us, the most important taxonomies, or sets of categories, are those which define the sections of a website [which can often be seen most clearly on the site map] and those which help retrieve information from databases.

A taxonomy is worthless if not set up properly. Terms must be chosen with care. Cross-references may be necessary. Information professionals are trained to work with your staff and subject specialists to create a term list that will work successfully for you. Contact D. L. Cohen Information Services for further information.

Several INFOSCOPE newsletters cover this topic. Please refer to the newsletter archive for relevant issues.

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