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Online Taxonomy
Introducing advanced syndication management

18th March 2001

Freesticky is not just about freely available content for your website, it is also about making the content more organised. Taxonomy is the science of organisation and categorisation and this article is the first in a series that introduces the Freesticky reader to some advanced concepts for managing their content, thanks to Paola Di Maio, editor of Content-Wire.com.

Information is power, we must have it ! But how to cope with the volumes?

Taxonomies are knowledge representation tools, typically used in natural and life sciences to understand, group and classify nature, like plants and animals. 

Early forms of taxonomies started being used by the ancients, whose brains were ticking off and wondered, probably when wandering around sunny spots just observing what was up. 

They must have realized that there might be no end to the known universe. 

Millions of different types of everything, insects, animals, fruits, vegetables, rocks, trees, stars, constellations. 

Understanding the complex relationships between classes of objects, has been a priority for science since the beginning. 

Once the products of nature have been classified, there starts the need for categorization of the product of human mind. Knowledge. 

Now, in a new millennium, storage and classification of knowledge is becoming increasingly difficult due to the proliferation of information and multiple growth of delivery and access paths. 

Not only humans produce more knowledge - the internet is exploding creative output, even if not yet sufficiently organised - 
but the patterns of proliferation and exchange are exponential. 

The 'any to any' environment ahead of us 
is bound to be chaotic. 

Well defined taxonomies are now starting to become essential tools used in business to maintain control over data. 

They are the backbone of every intranet, extranet, website and other electronic storage device. The efficiency of their structure determines the success of the information system, and their ability to manage growth. 

The problem with typical taxonomies as used by natural science to date is that they are fixed, static structures, as they study the evolution of the species that generally takes place over long millennia. 

Information Systems taxonomies, especially 
when online, must instead be dynamic to accommodate for the variety of real time changes as they happen. 

They must also be updateable in order to remain current, and 'referenceable', 
to maintain the contextual relationships they 
are determined by. 

The combination of the above is indeed a challenge, and research expert have started to gather periodically to lay the foundation for some work that will be with us for a long, long time. 

This article is the first of a series that looks at what's up. Just need to find the sunny spot now. 

Copyright © 2001 Paola Di Maio. All Rights Reserved.

Author Information:
Paola Di Maio

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