Building Taxonomies

icon arrow Hands-on one day event

icon arrow Realistic exercises

icon arrow Some SharePoint experience required


SharePoint gives information architects and business analysts a powerful toolset to build ECM, document management or intranet platforms. Having a well thought through taxonomy can be the difference between a successful implementation that easily deals with change and added business activities, and one that grows topsy turvy and eventually needs a make-over.

We will show you how to engage with teams to co-create a taxonomy that meets everyone’s needs - easy for them to "file" into, great findability, and organisation-wide consistency built in. During the morning, you will learn to spot and avoid the common traps and steer clear of using SharePoint metadata in ways that don't work in practice, while the afternoon focuses on how to translate your taxonomy into SharePoint.


This one day workshop is for people already familiar with SharePoint who wish to develop and embed a taxonomy (consisting of one or more hierarchical classifications and supporting metadata) in their own organisation's SharePoint implementation. Attendees should be familiar with SharePoint concepts or have attended one of our Power User iLabs.

icon arrow OBJECTIVES:

For any ECM, intranet, document management or compliance project, a well thought through and practical taxonomy is a must. This usually consists of:

- One of more hierarchies that are used to determine the structure of site collections, sites, libraries and metadata

- Additional metadata to allow people to find, group and sort information quickly

- Forming these in ways that translate well to SharePoint (because this isn't a given!)

Fast track design methodology. Learn to use Information Leadership design tools, checklists and interview techniques

Metadata/Taxonomy. Understand how to build a taxonomy and get the right mix of hierarchies and standard metadata

Translating to SharePoint. Understand what SharePoint metadata assets are available, and their strengths and weaknesses. Understand when it is appropriate to use the term store and when you need to avoid it!

Great usability and usefulness. For your taxonomy, determine the best mix of site collections, sites, libraries and metadata. Understand how this can be very different for a business activity, based on how the team doing the activity works.

Findability. Understand search, navigation and browse options available and how to give users the best combination. Learn design patterns for common findability challenges, including different ways to manage and publish controlled documents.


Course Outline

Why create and use a taxonomy?

Why information design is needed

SharePoint is extremely flexible; and full of features and assets which, if used well, can provide enormous benefits to organisations.

Good information design, based on a taxonomy, should lie at the core of any SharePoint implementation. It can be the difference between a system that is usable and useful, and one that staff hate.

Taxonomy basics

In the morning of this one day workshop you will learn how to form a taxonomy using Information Leadership's methodology that has been applied in its many taxonomy assignments. You will learn about:

icon arrow Concepts and principles

icon arrow Uses of taxonomies and different hierarchies (e.g. functional vs subject matter vs case file/project vs team vs geographic)

icon arrow Applying to different systems and media

icon arrow Specific tactics for dealing with projects, intranet, subject matter expertise, case files etc.

Taxonomy interview

Conducting interviews allows you to understand directly from staff what they do and how they describe their role.

We step through the process of developing a taxonomy, including how to make the most of ‘top down’ and ‘bottom up’ approaches. You will learn ways of doing interviews and forming your taxonomy, through hands-on realistic interviews.

icon arrow How do you start an interview?

icon arrow What techniques do you use yo cover all bases?

icon arrow What are the best questions?

icon arrow How do you deal with apathy?

icon arrow How do you form the taxonomy from the interview and ensure you got it right?

icon arrow What happens if you get bogged down?

Avoiding traps- using our checklist

Its easy to fall into common traps, where a taxonomy looks right, but later on you and staff will find out its shortcomings. You'll try and spot problems in a mockup taxonomy and the be introduced to our checklist of do's and don'ts.

Embedding your taxonomy in SharePoint

In the afternoon, we go hands-on with SharePoint (everyone will have access to a PC), on ways we might embed a taxonomy into site collections, sites, lists, libraries, search and metadata columns.

This is based on our successful iWorkplace information architecture methodology that is in use in over forty organisations today. We will cover:

icon arrow What to base sites and libraries on, and how to lower user burden of
metadata entry

icon arrow Tactics to cater for a wide range of audiences who need to access the same
content in different ways

icon arrow How to get the best range of findability from your taxonomy

icon arrow Common design patterns

Types of SharePoint Metadata and when to use them

Term Store?

Despite what many say, the term store is at best a mixed bag. Find out when and how to use it and when to avoid it.


Content Types?

Should you have lots, for each type of document, or not many? Find out what works best and how to decide.


Keywords and tags?

How are these different from other forms of metadata, and in what situations they should be used in, when should they be avoided?


Your plan

Start to think about the range of metadata you will need, so you have the right balance.

(Audience X Need) Design

Once you have a taxonomy, you need to decide for each business activity how to build this in to the site collections, sites, libraries and metadata. This is determined by those creating and using the content. The "audience x need" methodology you will learn will let you get the right mix of usability and usefulness for users.

Find-ability, finding the right mix between Browse versus Search

Search by itself is not all its cracked up to be. Learn how to get the right balance of search (with metadata for refinement, as well as scoped searches), and browsing through sites, that are based on your taxonomy hierarchy.

Book Now

Phone 0800 001 800 or contact us to book

See calendar for other public workshops

Your tutor

Grant Margison

Co-Founder & Director

B.E (Engineering Science),
Dip. Bus. (Finance)

Grant is the Co-founder and Director of Information Leadership.

View Grant's full profile and contact details.


"Cemented thoughts and knowledge"
"Exceeded my expectations" 
"A holistic view of a SharePoint project at the right level of detail"