Using Taxonomies Effectively
in the Organization
KMWorld 2000
Mike Crandall
Microsoft Information Services
[email protected]
Roadmap
What are taxonomies?
Where do taxonomies fit?
What are taxonomies good for?
How do you build them?
How do you use them?
Issues and challenges
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What are Taxonomies?
Taxonomy: a classification of elements
within a domain
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Domain: a sphere of knowledge, influence, or
activity
Classification: the operation of grouping
elements and establishing relationships between
them (or the product of that operation)
Relationships: a defined linkage between two
elements
Element: an object or concept
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Where do Taxonomies Fit?
User Interface
Customer Satisfaction
Personalization
Enterprise Portal Services
Feedback
Customization
Integration
Metrics
Security
Navigation Methods
Search
Communication
Browse
Publishing
Process
Distribution
Business
Rules
Information Architecture
metadata - organization services
PSS KB
Resources
Resources
LOB
Portals
Archive
Personnel
HR Data
Collaboration
Public Folders Tahoe Store
Document
Stores
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What are Taxonomies Good For?
Taxonomies are applied to:

Items: (aka resources) individual pieces of
information (documents, people, etc…)
By the use of:

Metadata: (aka properties, attributes) information
describing types of data.
Which may or may not use values from a:

Vocabulary: selection of terms, classified or
sorted
To create:
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Content: an item and its associated metadata
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How Do You Build Taxonomies?
Determine scope of project

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Boundaries will determine resources
needed
Breadth and depth are both important
dimensions
Obtain resource commitments
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Project will require both high and low level
support
If cross-organizational, even more critical
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First Steps
User needs survey to understand:

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The content your users need to do their
work
The ways your users access that content
Information audit to determine:
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Where your existing content is
How that content is structured
Who is responsible for the content
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Sample Survey Questions
MSWeb Redesign Information Goals/User Assessment Sheet:
1.
List the top five most important information services/or
products under your area that you think most employees need to
know about? What is the business impact of employees not
being aware of this information?
2.
Are there additional services and/or information/products
within your area that would benefit from increased exposure?
Describe the potential business value from employees having a
better awareness or understanding of this information.
3.
What types of content/information do you think is
missing from MSWeb? Why is it important that this….
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Sample Tag Audit
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Next Steps
Involve your users
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Include key stakeholders in process
Validate direction with content owners and
users
Decide on architectural approach
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Dependent on purpose of project
Complexity will depend on needs
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The Process
Identify
business
needs
_______
Define
needed
attributes
_______
Collect/ Tag
Expose
structure content Content
terms
________ ________ ________
•User
needs
survey
•Tag
audit
•Content
audit
•Build
object
model
•Create
flat list
•Provide
mapping
schema?
•Build
vocabs
•Define
rules
•Create
change
control
process
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•Embed
vocab
access
in tools
•Provide
guidelines
for use
Using Taxonomies- Microsoft Information Services
•Embed
tags in
interfaces
•Segment
content by
attributes
•Enable
thru
XML/XSL
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How do You Use Taxonomies?
Content creation- tagging
Site navigation- categories
Information retrieval- search
Personalization- delivery
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Content Creation
Tagging of documents, URLs, other
items is critical for improved retrieval
Two examples:
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MSWeb Best Bets database- catalog of
URLs used in search and categories
News publishing tool- used for tagging
external and internal news for portal
display
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Site Navigation
Much of a portal’s navigation centers
around organization of information
through categories
Categories can be considered a sitespecific vocabulary, used to tag URLs
MSWeb uses taxonomy management
tools for this purpose
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MSWeb Categories
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Category subpage
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Taxonomies in Search
User
Indexer
Independent Metadata
Result Set Manipulation
deduping
concatenation
ranking
database schemas
thesauri
Result Refining
User
Interface
Searching
Index(es)
Indexing
Index Metadata
User Metadata
Data Stores
file system
http
messaging stores
Document store
Databases
Directory stores
Other Users
Query Preprocessing
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string manipulation
synonym sets &
thesauri
stemming
wordbreaking
Data Analysis
adaptive crawling
word breaking
word stemming
NLP
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MSWeb Search
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Results
Key measure
Q4 99
Q1 00
Q2 00
Total number of registered sites
834
858
808
Average # Best Bets returned with 20 top search strings
3.6
2.75
4.35
Modal # BB with top 20
1
5
1
Median # BB with top 20
2.5
3
3
Percentage of all top search strings that return Best Bets
69%
85%
98%
Percentage of 50 top search strings that return BBs
82%
84%
98%
Percentage of 20 top search strings that return BBs
90%
80%
100%
Number of all top search strings returning 10 or more Best Bets
18
12
5
Number of top50 search strings returning 10 or more BB
6
10
5
Number of top 20 search strings returning 10 or more BB
3
6
4
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Personalization
The last step in linking content to people
Requires well tagged content, and the ability
to capture a user profile
Current directions for MSWeb are to take
advantage of Active Directory profiles, based
on values pulled from common taxonomy
Still in beginning stages
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Conflicts in Using Taxonomies
Flexibility versus stability
Costs versus resource commitments
Focus versus breadth of scope
Localization versus globalization
Speed versus thoroughness
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Challenges
Finding common ground across multiple taxonomies or
schemas with similar terms and different meanings
Overkill…building relationships where they aren’t
practical given severe human resource constraints
Ensuring the ongoing integrity of the taxonomy
Acceptance by authors of tagging tools
Application across object types, storage devices,
languages, context
Integration with legacy systems and external content
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Key Success Factors
Define in terms of business value

authority, relevance, timeliness, impact
Include metrics to prove success
Balance between control and collaboration
Meet key stakeholder criteria on costs to
build, costs to maintain
Take usability/user behavior seriously
Manage expectations all round
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Questions?
Mike Crandall
[email protected]
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Using Taxonomies Effectively in the Organization