Creating a great taxonomy for keywording is a never-ending job.  Just when you think you’ve got your vocab perfect – along comes another word, and another, and another.

You’d think that by now there would be plenty of taxonomies with every word in the English language. After all, the Oxford Dictionary lists a mere 220,000 words or so.  But then add in the multitude of place names, species (8.7 million), names of events, famous people….. It never ends.

In practice, taxonomies tend to focus on words relevant to a library’s subject matter – such as science, interiors or birds – or sticks to the most commonly used words in general use.  That makes perfect sense of course, but even then the unavoidable new person, slang word, place, species or event will pop up.  Not to mention the refinement of the vocabulary that is inevitably required as keywords come into and out of vogue.

So when budgeting for the creation of a taxonomy – or the purchase of one – make sure that you put aside money to maintain the vocabulary.  The broader the scope of the library, the bigger that expense will be.

And don’t forget that as you have images keyworded, there will be a constant stream of words from outside the current vocabulary that keyworders will want to add on the fly.  If you have a full controlled vocabulary it is tempting to set those extra keywords aside in a vocab tree called something like “new keywords”.  However the power of the taxonomy is weakened every time a new word fails to be integrated properly.

As a general rule, we recommend updating a taxonomy at least once a month, preferably once a week.  If there isn’t someone within the library staff with the time and/or expertise, you can always outsource the work.

To find out more about how Picsell Media can help you maintain your taxonomy, click here.