Taxonomy Types

Organizing documents in taxonomy is not an easy task, because there is no a “silver” bullet and “best practices” for such task – everything depends on the usage patterns. “Discovery, contribution and collaborations” are the key priorities you should manage first, and then build your design upon.

There are several types of taxonomies you have to consider in your design: Subject, Unit Based and Functional (thanks to Barb Blackburn to his description of the types)

Subject type is based on “subject terms” when you arrange you subjects in alphabetical order. This type works for well established terms that are unique in defined context and have no shared information – like family names, countries and etc. In case of terms ambiguity the thesaurus is used

Business-unit type is used to reflects the organization structures like departments/divisions and etc. The advantage is that such structure minimize number of documents, because they can be inherited, but disadvantage in duplicated information that have to be shared across structured elements.

Functional type is based on the produced activities, when you build taxonomy on the top of business process. The issue of such type is in the project files support that relate to the particular person/project. In such situation metadata is used to address this issue.

The summary of those types are incorporated in the following table

Taxonomy Types Advantages Dissadvantages

– Common approach recognizable by most users (library, Yellow pages, internet sites)
– Many sources of existing and reusable schemes 

-Requires understanding of terminology or supporting Thesaurus 


– Familiar to users (mimics most existing paper filing systems)

-Organizational changes require maintenance of the taxonomy
-Shared documents are difficult to classify

Functional – Endures organizational changes – Difficult to address case files

1 Comment »

  1. cna training Said,

    January 7, 2010@ 7:07 am      Reply

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