OR: Why You Should Build a Larger Taxonomy Than You Think You Need
Most of the time, vocabulary (taxonomy, thesaurus, ontology) development is done for a specific purpose: to index a bunch of documents, structure website navigation, arrange products for e-commerce, and similar project scopes.
But the process of building and validating a vocabulary (as an exercise in and of itself) can circumscribe a domain in a structured way useful for modeling information environments – perhaps in a broader context than is necessary for your project as currently instantiated.
Having such a structure in place can provide a framework for future projects and connections to relevant external resources – and is a useful jumping-off point for validation to narrow the domain for a particular project scope.
This validation step is crucial to this process: the negotiation between taxonomic thinking and the point of view of subject matter experts, users, content owners, and other stakeholders.
In this talk, I will discuss how the process of vocabulary construction – and validation! – can help outline and structure a domain, be a paradigm for discovery, and define the scope of your project within the larger domain so delimited.
About the speakers
Bob Kasenchak is a taxonomist and ontologist at Factor. For over 10 years, he has designed and implemented vocabulary projects for clients in the publishing, e-commerce, technology, and other sectors in the semantic software space. Bob earned a BA in Liberal Arts from St. John’s College, Santa Fe, an MM in Theoretical Studies from the New England Conservatory of Music, and put in 5 years towards a PhD in Music Theory at the University of Texas before abandoning academia for the information industry. His current research interests include ontologies, knowledge graphs, and text classification. Still active teaching and playing music, Bob has been a member of the local ensemble Gamelan Encantada for the past several years. He lives in Albuquerque with his wife and elderly cat.