2019 Main Conference Talk
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 speaker(s)
Bob Kasenchak’s interest in information science began while working at Schwann Publications in the late 1990s. Publishing a quarterly phone-book-sized classical music catalog featuring carefully controlled synonymic records and standardization of terms suggested the necessity for hierarchical data structures in the service of organizing information about composers and musical works. After a decade studying and teaching music, Bob spent 8 years designing and developing information projects at a leading taxonomy firm before joining Synaptica in 2019.