Taxonomy. To me, it’s interesting that a word to describe what things are called, and what language is used to call them, isn’t simpler. Honestly, it’s a word I thought meant to stuff something after it died. (Oh, right, that’s taxidermy!) But SharePoint 2010 has given taxonomy a starring role for defining your organization’s assets.

And that makes sense. The more precisely we can define something, the easier it is to find, work with, and even dispose of. If I said to my wife, “I’ve got some garbage here, get me a container,” she might dial up a 10-yard dumpster for an eggshell. But if I can say to her, “Please get me something to throw this wrapper into,” it’s more likely she’ll come back with a more appropriately sized garbage bag.

So, if your workplace handles a lot of documents or personnel information, or sales and customer data (and who’s doesn’t?), it’s important to have a language to describe these assets. Most organizations have a language in place: Here at BZ Media, we use imposition sheets, insertion orders, print instructions and comp lists as part of our printing operations; we use registration forms, feedback forms, speaker forms and more for our conference operations; and of course, we have our share of HR forms as well.

But what if you’re new to SharePoint and are creating a taxonomy for it from scratch? Well, that’s a challenge, but it’s also an opportunity to get it right. I found great information on how to do just that, from Microsoft’s SharePoint team blog.

Stephen Cawood also has a great series on taxonomies. Start here with an introduction to managed metadata. Good reading!

And for some deeper dives, a number of sessions at SPTechCon Boston in June will look at implementing taxonomies and how they can be used in records management and custom solutions—and how your metadata strategy impacts everything you do! Visit the SPTechCon website for details on these sessions.