Taxonomy Governance: The Maintenance Process

3 minute read
Mike Doane avatar

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

About the author

Mike Doane

Mike Doane is director of Information Services at Gravity Zero. He has more than 20 years of experience in information management, taxonomy development and content management.