Out of the box SharePoint 2010 and 2013 both include the Term Store. This feature can be used to produce a set of custom tags to manage metadata. In turn, organizations can use these custom tags via SharePoint’s Managed Metadata Service (MMS) to structure information in a manner conforming to the unique characteristics and needs of their communities.
But neither version of SharePoint server includes much in the way of an out of the box Taxonomy. So SharePoint users often struggle with understanding the “what, why, how and who” about Taxonomy. Without a good understanding of the answers to each of these core questions, it’s unlikely an organization will include an effort to put together a custom Taxonomy as part of their MMS process.
In a video tutorial titled SharePoint 2013 Content Terminology, Chris McNulty of Dell provides a definition of Taxonomy (and Folksonomy) accessible to non technical SharePoint stakeholders. This video tutorial is included in a set of training on Managed Metadata and Content Management. This set is available for purchase, for local use, by either individuals or groups.
Chris’ definition of Taxonomy should be very helpful to SharePoint users planning a successful implementation of MMS for an enterprise content management (ECM) initiative. An accurate and relevant Taxonomy is critically important to any initiative with this objective. Stakeholders will use a Taxonomy to define a structure for the unique repository of information (data) produced by a specific organization. I refer to a Taxonomy as a collection of categories.
Once a collection of categories has been assembled, then stakeholders can produce a set of tags capable of accurately identifying key pieces of data. Whether a formal effort to build a custom Taxonomy is undertaken, or not, one can argue the process of building the right set of tags for information within the MMS process will, by itself, end up suggesting a Taxonomy for the organization undertaking the effort. It’s better to address this process through a formal effort to put together a useful Taxonomy FIRST and then follow with the tag creation procedure after the Taxonomy has been built and approved by all of the stakeholders in the effort.
© Rehmani Consulting, Inc. & Ira Michael Blonder, 2013 All Rights Reserved