Taxonomy Bootcamp in Washington DC

Posted by Annabel Snow, Information Management Consultant on 21 December 2015

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I was lucky enough to attend Taxonomy Bootcamp in Washington DC in November of this year. Taxonomy Bootcamp is an annual conference for around 200 taxonomists and Information Architects. It was great to be around people who thought what I do for a job is normal!

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There were some amazing speakers in attendance such as Peter Morville, Patrick Lambe and Joseph Busch. There was such an array of interesting sessions including;

-          how Canadian Yellow Pages utilises bilingual taxonomy (French/English) to assist search

-          how SEEK are using taxonomy to quality check user-submitted information/advertisements

-          growing use of Linked data (which was presented by our partners, Smartlogic)

 In the US, taxonomy is still very much associated with information architecture and website navigation. The use of auto-classification is seen as advanced taxonomy use, so I felt we are ahead of the game in our service offerings in many respects. For more about our service offerings visit information architecture.

On the technology front, there are some great tools coming out like OASIS, which auto-tags images. Meeting the Smartlogic team (who own Semaphore, the tool Optimation is the reseller for across Australia and NZ) was a bonus for me. Some of them I’ve worked with over Skype for years so it was really nice to finally meet in person.

Of course one of the most useful parts of any conference is the networking so it was great to meet such an array of people working with taxonomy. While the bulk of attendees seemed to be in-house information managers tasked with designing a taxonomy, it was connecting with the consultants who work across a variety of clients that was of most use. A UK-based consultant I met uses taxonomy as a media monitoring tool to support her client’s Business Intelligence efforts, something we could potentially replicate here in NZ.

Washington DC as a city is walkable, has great restaurants and of course on every corner is an iconic building. Visiting  the Library of Congress (the mothership for wordnerds) feeding a squirrel and going to an NBA game were particular highlights. Go the Wizards!