Last time I presented Part 1 of this three part series on governing taxonomies, focusing on the initial steps in taxonomy development (e.g. taking the initial steps to building out a taxonomy, project planning, etc...). For this post, I want to talk about the Maintenance Processes, or whatto do with a taxonomy once it’s built.

A Little Recap

Basically, taxonomy governance is organized into three main areas:

  • Taxonomy Development (the last post)
  • Taxonomy Maintenance (this post)
  • Taxonomy Growth (future post)

I realize that these posts ask a lot more questions than they answer, but I think that’s the point. I’ve got “answers” for all these questions, but they vary from company to company. When I consult with clients, it’s about answering these important questions to make sure we’re covering all aspects of taxonomy governance.

Learning Opportunities

Now I want to talk about the Maintenance Processes. What do you do with a taxonomy once it’s built -- but not necessarily fully implemented across your organization. As was said last post, this will eventually become a white paper that I will make available to you. In the meantime, here’s the second of three sections on taxonomy governance: Taxonomy Maintenance.


  1. Taxonomy -- what kinds of roles and people are included in a taxonomy team?
  2. End users -- how does a taxonomy benefit an end user? How are end users involved in the development of a taxonomy?
  3. Advisors -- what kinds of roles or stakeholders are involved in the development and maintenance of a taxonomy?
  4. Technology -- what kinds of technologies are necessary for the creation and maintenance of a taxonomy?
  5. Governance --- how is a taxonomy governed for short and long terms?


  1. Manual integration -- how is a taxonomy manually integrated or used within a system?
  2. Automated integration -- how is a taxonomy automatically integrated into a system?
  3. Autoclassification -- what role does a taxonomy play in autoclassifying content?
  4. Systems -- what kinds of systems does a taxonomy work with? \
  5. Integration -- how does a taxonomy integrate into one or more systems?


  1. User interviews -- how are user interviews used to determine what terms are included in a taxonomy?
  2. Content audit -- what is a content audit and what kinds of content should be audited to inform a taxonomy build out?
  3. Primary build -- what needs to go into the first build of the taxonomy?
  4. Revisions -- how are revisions made and tracked during construction?
  5. Technical implementation – how is a taxonomy implemented into a technical system?
  6. Standards integration -- what kinds of standards should be considered as the taxonomy is being built?
  7. Editorial development -- how does the terminology used in the enterprise get harvested and used in the taxonomy?
  8. Testing -- what kinds of tests need to be performed to validate the taxonomy?


  1. Testing -- how is the taxonomy tested inside the multiple systems that it integrates into?
  2. Analysis -- what kinds of analytics are needed to measure and track the effectiveness of the taxonomy within the enterprise?


  1. Terms -- how to add, edit, delete, deprecate and maintain overall relevance of terms in a taxonomy
  2. Technology -- what has to happen in the technology to maintain the taxonomy?
  3. Committee -- what does a committee do to provide governance to a taxonomy?

Editors Note: To read more from Mike check out: Using Taxonomies to Drive Intranet User Adoption