Getting the measure of taxonomies

Information World Review article about using taxonomies for information management (requires free subscription).

    Many people use the term taxonomy as if there was a single manifestation of the tool, but it might be better to use the phrase taxonomic approach to reflect the many different ways in which they can be built and used. What relates them all are 3 factors: 1. information overload, 2. a comparatively low level of end-user information literacy, and 3. the difficulty experienced by conventional search engines in dealing with very large numbers of heterogeneous (in several senses) documents. The following 3 functional types will serve to illustrate this point: 1. the taxonomy as a display method, 2. the taxonomy used by commercial information providers, and 3. a variety of taxonometric approaches to improve subject access through enterprise information portals.

This is a pretty decent article discussing the common taxonomic approaches in use today. We are all probably most familiar with taxonomies used for display purposes. What is less visible is the approach used by commercial information providers and in-house information services organizations servicing enterprise applications. The latter 2 make up the real meat of taxonomic methodologies, where complex semantic rules are constantly managed by information professionals.