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Meet the Author: Taxonomy Fundamentals

With the growth of electronic content, taxonomies and other knowledge organization systems are increasingly used to support content and information management and retrieval. Implementations include published literature retrieval databases, digital library collections, digital archives, knowledge repositories, enterprise content and document management, and intranet and website navigation and search.

Librarians, archivists, content managers, digital asset managers, records managers, information architects, knowledge managers, information technologists, and subject-matter-experts all may find themselves at some point performing the role of an accidental taxonomist.  Recognizing this, Heather Hedden, an experienced taxonomist for both literature retrieval and enterprise taxonomies, wrote the book The Accidental Taxonomist in 2010, as a practical guide for those getting into taxonomy work. The book’s success led to a thoroughly revised second edition, which was published in 2016.

The webinar, “Taxonomy Fundamentals,” touches on the basics of practical taxonomy and thesaurus design and other issues that are the core chapters of the book. The webinar outline comprises: (1) definitions and types taxonomies and other kinds of knowledge organization systems, (2) applications and uses, (3) the issue of developing vs. licensing a vocabulary, (4) controlled vocabulary and thesaurus standards and guidelines, (5) terms and their variants, (6) and relationship between terms.


Heather_Hedden_headshotHeather Hedden is a senior vocabulary editor at Gale/Cengage Learning, where she edits the subject thesaurus used in the Gale literature retrieval databases. Previously she designed taxonomies and metadata schemes for various implementations as a consultant. Heather has taught online workshops in taxonomy creation through the continuing education program of Simmons College - School of Library and Information Science and the American Society for Indexing. She currently serves on the board of the American Society for Indexing and on a working group of vocabulary use and reuse for the National Information Standards Organization (NISO). Heather is the author of numerous articles, the chapter "Indexing Arabic Names" in Indexing Names (American Society for Indexing, 2012), and The Accidental Taxonomist (Information Today Inc., 2010, 2016).

Webinar & Slides