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Topic Taxonomies are the Worst

Published onJun 21, 2023
Topic Taxonomies are the Worst
Taxonomy Talk with Bob Kasenchak: Topic Taxonomies are the Worst

​One primary tension in taxonomy construction is between best practices (as defined by various taxonomy standards) and practical (business) requirements. ​That is: the tension is between categorization according to what things are versus where people will look for them.

​How can we balance or reconcile these priorities? Can we model our way out of them? And what are the options? ​This issue is paramount in Topic taxonomies; Topic or Subject taxonomies are very common and present specific modeling challenges.

​People are used to navigating topic-oriented structures. It is common sense to put things where people will find them; however, that does not mean that it’s also Good Taxonomy Practice. ​In this talk, I’ll address the difference between Concepts and Topics, outline some of the challenges in building these types of taxonomies, and offer a number of practical solutions for addressing them.

## About Bob Kasenchak

Bob is an information architect at Factor Firm. As taxonomist and ontologist with an interest in knowledge graphs and Linked Data, he has worked for over a decade building and implementing taxonomy projects for publishing, enterprise, technology, and e-commerce clients. He brings experience with information modeling and semantic software to client-focused metadata and vocabulary projects.

​A frequent writer and presenter on semantic topics in conferences and journals, Bob’s 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.

## ​About Taxonomy Talk

​Taxonomy Talk is a Discord community that is open to anyone working within information architecture and knowledge organization spaces, no matter their level of experience or knowledge. This includes people who work on, manage, or are responsible for taxonomies even as just part of their job.

​Critically, the community is open and encourages aspiring practitioners to join to network with, communicate with, and learn from current practitioners.

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