A taxonomy is an ever-changing complex web of categories and subcategories in which we place items. A big part of planning a taxonomy is to have a governance process to keep this taxonomy relevant. In the following table, taxonomists have determined the 6 terms to be overarching containers for most facets set in a hierarchy.

PersonalityPeople, Organizations
MatterThings, Parts, Products, Doc Type
EnergyActivities, Cycles
SpaceLocation, Geography
TimeDate, Sequence
Subject MatterTopic, Domain

There are 3 phases to building a taxonomy:

  • Plan the taxonomy
  • Design the taxonomy
  • Implement taxonomy

In planning, we meet the sponsor, engage stakeholders, refine the purpose and scope, design approach, build communication plan, start governance.

Taxonomy Development Cycle
Taxonomy Development Cycle

Designing the taxonomy involves data gathering exercises are performed to elicit terms for vocabularies and organizing principles and facet analysis. Testing and observation involves a group of people putting items into categories.

Implementing a taxonomy involves planning instantiation of the taxonomy, integrating with infrastructure, and Securing governance.