I was asked recently in an interview, whilst they read my resume, what a taxonomy is. I basically said it was a way to categorise and organise content and assets in a clear way. I looked it up in the dictionary and found that Taxonomy (from Greek “taxis” meaning arrangement or division and “nomos” meaning law) is the science of classification according to a pre-determined system with the resulting catalog used to provide a conceptual framework for discussion, analysis, or information retrieval.
I explained to the interviewer, think back to your high-school Biology class. We used to have to know the basic taxonomy for categorising living species: Kingdom->Phylum->Class->Order->Family->Genus->Species.
Taxonomies are different from metadata in that a taxonomy helps you to organise your content and assets as opposed to being hidden from the user and only found whilst searching for the content. By defining and using a taxonomy can offer additional benefits in that users of a digital management system like Adobe Bridge will be categorising content and assets. The interviewer then asked, so how does one go about making one, so I thought about it and explained that. Taxonomies should be media independent, should have a logical hierarchy, they should be easy to understand by users in different divisions or departments, they should avoid acronyms or abbreviations where possible and should be not too deep in the nesting.