For this month's PhillyCHI meeting, we've assembled a panel to discuss
a foundational topic: taxonomy.
Most of us know that taxonomy has something to do with organizing
things. We hear it occasionally during meetings or when speaking to
certain system specialists who contribute to our projects.
Few of us know, however, that taxonomy is the practice of
classification, which originally began as a science devoted to the
classification of living organisms. And that over time, taxonomy has
become known as the classification of just about anything and everything.
Even fewer of us get down into the weeds and do the work that goes
beyond simple classification that makes today's information systems
work: meta data, facets, controlled vocabulary, thesauri, synonym
maps, ontologies, tagging…
What's troubling about this divide between those that know about
taxonomy and those that don't is the very importance of taxonomy. For
many of us, our waking hours are spent creating applications,
websites, and interactive products that could not function without
well-structured, carefully crafted information structures.
This month's PhillyCHI meeting will explore in practical and tangible
terms the specific ways taxonomy is important to the work we do. We
will discuss the design, implementation, and governance of taxonomies
by examining four real-world case studies:
* a user-centric catalog for a large e-commerce site and its
impact on the user experience
* a content-heavy non-profit information site
* a system processing data through controlled vocabularies and
* a consumer-driven search engine
Whether you are a librarian, a designer or developer facing
ever-increasingly complex information structures, or a product manager
tasked with getting the client on board with investing in meta data,
you'll find interest in this meeting's discussion. Plenty of time
will be reserved at the end of the meeting for discussion, so bring
your tough questions!
Dave Cooksey, GSI Commerce, Inc
Dave is an Information Architect who works to ensure usability and
findability a place at the table during the design & development of
e-commerce sites. He currently focuses on taxonomy & faceted
search/navigation, user research techniques, usability practices, and
how to bring business & design closer.
Emily Culbertson, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
As web managing director at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Emily
oversees user experience and information architecture. Previously, she
has managed health information Web projects for pharmaceutical and
consumer products clients at I-SITE and at the University of
Pennsylvania Health System.
John Ferrara, Vanguard
John is an Information Architect and human-computer interface
practitioner responsible for structure, information design, and
interface usability at Vanguard. He is experienced in design and
administration of a variety of evaluation methods including: user
testing, heuristic evaluation, cognitive walkthrough, surveys, and
Julia Remick, Yellow Book USA
Julia is an Information Scientist within the Internet operations of
Yellow Book USA, working primarily to ensure the integrity of their
website's taxonomy and to maintain its cohesion with the current
search logic. She examines site metrics to determine keyword
frequencies and search trends, forecasts how the development of new
logic will interact with the present structure of the taxonomy, and is
currently exploring new tools to expand and enhance the performance of
the current taxonomy.