Archive | Taxonomy Times

Taxonomy Times #18 is available now

Taxonomy Times, the quarterly bulletin of the SLA Taxonomy Division, has published its next issue. DTax members only may access it here:

Read up on what programming our division is sponsoring at SLA Annual in Vancouver. Discover new options to volunteer in a short- or long-term capacity. Get preliminary results from the member survey.

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Taxonomy Times #17 has arrived

Happy 2014!

The first Taxonomy Times of 2014 is available now!

Read the full Taxonomy Times on the wiki.  This issue includes:


  • Letter from our new Division Chair
  • Committee Updates and Annual Reports
  • New Members
  • Member Profile: Ann Pool
  • Division Awards


Wiki and division membership are required to view the full edition.  If you are a division member and do not have access to the wiki, please email your wiki user name to


If you prefer to download the bulletin or print it, click on the wiki link above and notice a new link just after “In This Issue:”–you can open and print the issue as a PDF.

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Taxonomy Times – November 2013

Happy Autumn, Division Members!

We are pleased to announce the next issue of Taxonomy Times, the bulletin of the SLA Taxonomy Division, is available.

Members may access the bulletin at:

And remember, you can now open and print the issue as a PDF.

What does Issue #16 have to offer?

  • Letter from the Chair – Janice Keeler
  • Committee Update – Mentoring & Public Relations
  • Vocabulary Interoperability in the Semantic Web – James R. Morris
  • New Members
  • Member Profile – Bethany Sehon
  • Something Interesting – Practical Classification Webinar Series

Please note that membership in the SLA Taxonomy Division and a wiki account is required to access the Bulletin. If you have any trouble accessing the members-only wiki, please email your wiki user name to

We hope to make the Bulletin a place for information exchange and ideas between members. If you’d like to share your expertise by writing an article or be featured in our Member Profile section, please contact Bulletin editors Teresa MacGregor, Paula McCoy, and Diane Silver at

Thanks from your co-editors,
Paula McCoy, Teresa MacGregor, Diane Silver

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Taxonomy Times – January 2013

Taxonomy Times – January 2013

Letter from the Chair – Janice Keeler

A recent Tweet on our Division website said, “Thank you @SLATaxo for existing. Your website is very helpful!” We hope to continue providing useful services and resources during 2013.

We have a good mix of new and continuing leaders in our elected and advisory boards and a lot of energy. You can see the list on our web site; the same page includes a form where you can easily communicate with any of our elected board members or committee chairs.

Many thanks to the 49 members who completed our 2013 Member Survey. This provides a lot of input for our planning process. Highlights of the results are included as a separate article in this issue of Taxonomy Times, but I wanted to comment on some of the results.

The top three benefits of Division membership, each rated as very important or important by at least 45 respondents, are shown in this table, along with our plans for addressing them:

Top Three Benefits Plans and Comments
Accessing a network of professional colleagues The Division organizes several networking events in conjunction with conferences, but this year we are also planning to add some local networking events. You can always initiate your own 1:1 networking by using the SLA Online Membership Directory and looking up other Division members, but if you want to help organize a local gathering, please contact Networking Committee chair Stephen Powers.
Attending professional development webinars We already have several webinars scheduled and more in the works. Keep an eye on the Division website or e-mail list for information. The next webinar is 7 February: Taxonomy and Metadata at the Associated Press, so please register if you are interested.
Sharing news and ideas All members can help with this. The survey showed that most respondents prefer conducting discussions using our e-mail discussion list. You are all encouraged to start a discussion or answer a question. Other channels are available, including Twitter @SLATaxo and the LinkedIn group. We started wiki pages for two key topics on our member wiki. If you have any comments or sources addressing the value of taxonomy or taxonomy standards, please contribute to the wiki pages.

Kathleen McElhinney (Chair-Elect) and I will be attending the SLA Leadership Summit 6-8 February, and have the opportunity to talk to SLA leaders there. If you have any concerns or comments you would like us to pass along, please contact me ASAP.

You are all encouraged to attend Taxonomy Division events at the SLA Annual Conference in SLA in June in San Diego. We have a variety of programs plus two networking events. The conference is a great way to learn more; meet professional colleagues from around the world; and have fun. The list of our programs is posted on the Division web site and will be in the SLA online planner.

Janice Keeler
Taxonomy Division Chair

Janice is the Chair of the Taxonomy Division and Manager, Knowledge Management at NERA Economic Consulting, where she designed and now manages a global taxonomy and a SharePoint site for intellectual capital.

Janice Keeler

Members only: Read the full Taxonomy Times on our wiki. This issue includes:

  • Division Member Survey 2013 – Results
  • Committee Updates
  • Conference Events – Save the Dates!
  • Breadth and Depth in a Comprehensive Legal Taxonomy – Larry Lempert
  • New Members
  • Member Profile: Paula McCoy
  • Book Reviews

Wiki and division membership are required to view the full edition. If you are a division member and do not have access to the wiki, please email your wiki user name to

In response to feedback from the recent Division Survey, we have improved access to the Bulletin. If you prefer to download the bulletin or print it, click on the wiki link above and notice a new link just after “In This Issue:”–you can now open and print the issue as a PDF.

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Taxonomy Times – October 2012

Taxonomy Times – October 2012

Letter from the Chair – Barbara Holder

In the past couple of weeks I have been recruiting Advisory Board members – a special thanks to those who stepped up! – and it struck me that although we have many active members of the Division, only current board members are aware of the finer points of how the Division works – so I thought it would be a good subject for this letter (especially as it is almost time for a new round of recruiting!).

The overall direction is set by the Board, based on the Strategic Plan – see Kathleen’s article in this issue of Taxonomy Times. Tasks are dictated by goals in the plan, and many of them are time-bound in line with SLA’s annual cycle of preparation for the Annual Conference and corporate governance requirements (annual report, nominations etc.) The Plan is a living document and the time is near when the Board will revisit it to make sure it is still on target.

The Division has an Executive Board with the Chair, Chair-Elect, Secretary, Treasurer and Past-Chair, backed by the Advisory Board that includes the Chair for each major area of activity. Each Chair runs his/her area in consultation and help from the rest of the Board. Some chairs work alone and others are backed by active committees. The Division is constrained by budget and the amount of time our volunteers can realistically spend. Of course, we work within the framework defined by the larger association and owe a huge debt to our sponsors, who provide most of the funds that make activities possible.

The Board meets each month (usually the third Monday of the month at 1 pm EST/10 am PST (that’s my time zone!) for one hour. The Chair posts the agenda on the Division wiki one week in advance (at least that is the goal). Chairs are encouraged to submit written reports to the wiki prior to the meeting.

The actual meeting is held virtually using GoToMeeting, which is available through SLA. Executive Board members are usually expected to attend each Board meeting. Advisory Board members are asked to attend if they have an agenda item to speak to, otherwise they are encouraged to attend (but it is not required). Due to time zone differences or work circumstances some key board members never attend. Minutes are posted on the wiki after the meeting so that everyone is “on the same page.”

Concerns and ideas are passed to the larger association in one of two ways: through Division Cabinet or by directly contacting SLA Board Members with suggestions and concerns. Of course there is a lot of informal networking about the issues as well. The Division and Chapter Cabinet chairs have just begun a review of the cabinets’ roles and processes with an eye to the future. The Cabinets’ processes and procedures were developed before teleconferencing and virtual meetings were possible so perhaps it is time for a change.

We communicate with members through meeting at the annual conference and by annual surveys. We are working on increasing the use of social media. We also send information via our discussion lists, website and wiki and of course this bulletin – Taxonomy Times. Board members are alert for input from any Division member, so please do not hesitate to speak up or make contact if you feel so inclined! And, if you feel like rolling up your sleeves and getting more involved with Division tasks, I would be delighted to hear from you.


Barbara Holder

Members only: Read the full Taxonomy Times on our wiki. This issue includes:

  • Strategic Plan Update – Kathleen McElhinney
  • Taxonomy Boot Camp Recap – Paula McCoy
  • Developing a Taxonomy for Urban Planning – One Association’s Story
  • New Members
  • Member Profile: Evelyn Behar
  • Division Networking Event – Taxonomy Boot Camp No-Host Dinner

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Taxonomy Times – August 2012

Taxonomy Times – August 2012

Letter from the Chair – Barbara Holder

The Division had an excellent conference – a huge vote of thanks to the team that worked for countless hours to pull it together. We led on seven programs and co-sponsored three others with two of our sessions picked as spotlight sessions. We also had a full-day CE session. Thanks indeed to our sponsors who made our sessions possible: Bloomberg Law BNA, Gale Cengage Learning, Information Today Inc. and Geographic Research Inc.

Of course, the conference is all about networking. Our Division had both a successful open house and an informal dine-out, as well as lots of informal networking opportunities at the sessions and around the conference venue.

I gave a report on Division health at the Annual Meeting. The Division is thriving. We have 240 members and a positive financial picture. Throughout the year we held a range of CE webinars and enjoyed four informative original issues of Taxonomy Times (issues 4-7). We developed the website and tweeted extensively at the Conference continuing to build our brand, as well as providing Division promotional leaflets for attendees and vendor partners.

The Mentoring Committee has a three-part program reaching out with FAQs, a mentors and protégés program and one-to-one matching. See more below.

The Division has come a long way, but still has a ways to go in some areas including improved governance and using LinkedIn.

The conference drew 1,500 regular delegates and 1,500 partner delegates (vendors). There were 250 sessions and 200 separate vendors represented.

Association news included a financial snapshot (a slight positive balance on operations this year, thanks to voluntary donations from some Divisions and Chapters). A new program called the Loyalty Club has been launched to allow members to contribute individually to SLA. For more information visit the Association’s website.

Two Divisions are to merge (Advertising and Business and Finance), and there are two new student chapters (San Jose and Florida State).

For your diaries, SLA is reverting to its normal June timeslot next year. The main conference will be two days, Monday and Tuesday (rather than the traditional Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday). In preparation for next year, the Division is ready to propose seven sessions, including a spotlight with Patrick Lambe, so look forward to a great conference next year that builds on our current success!


Barbara Holder

Members only: Read the full Taxonomy Times on our wiki. This issue includes:

  • Details on mentoring through the Taxonomy Division
  • Session reports from SLA2012 Annual Conference
  • Conference and Division updates from Barbara Holder

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Taxonomy Times – April 2012

Taxonomy Times – April 2012

Letter from the Chair – Barbara Holder

This month the Division undertook its annual survey to discover members’ top concerns and program ideas so that the Board can focus on what members care about most. This builds on previous years’ surveys and other consultations. Thanks to all who participated.

In what professional development topics are you interested? A Wordle summary indicates the gist of responses. The top topics match sessions slated for the annual conference in Chicago, as well as planned webinar sessions – showing the Board’s grasp of desired topics based on previous member input. The full list of this year’s suggestions will help the Board plan the Division’s webinar program and the 2013 conference program.

What are your three top concerns for 2012? Top concerns show great consistency with 53 concerns about building you own learning and experience; 16 about educating and persuading others (usually at work); and 15 about job security and finding employment. One member put his/her concern relating to professional development in a nutshell: “Really getting all the components of taxonomy as I’m now the ‘resident expert’ – cough : ).” This parallels a personal concern of mine!

Five members voiced concerns about networking – “having a network of experienced taxonomists to provide support and share advice.”

A few members have unique concerns such as publishing research, deriving value from association membership, finding and evaluating training opportunities and preparing to teach undergraduates. These are areas the Division can explore or we can put interested individuals in touch.

We asked you the relative importance of Division benefits to you personally.
Importance of benefits to members
Chart from SurveyMonkey – SLA Taxonomy Division Survey 2012

For most of us, accessing a network of professional colleagues, sharing news and ideas and attending professional development sessions are the key benefits of membership. Mentoring/being mentored and building skills through volunteer work are important for some members, as is getting the premium content on the wiki. One negative note – a member mentioned a negative experience using the wiki and said they would not be going back.

“Getting the message out to members” is crucial to Division success so we asked members their current use of social media. Facebook is the most used channel, followed by LinkedIn.
Social media use
Chart from SurveyMonkey – SLA Taxonomy Division Survey 2012

Twitter or GooglePlus are less popular, so if we use those channels we will have to include a component to encourage members to get their feet wet (or not be surprised when no one “hears” us).

Any member who would like to view the detailed survey data please contact me. Also, please let me know any concerns or program ideas we can add. I am looking forward to discussing this in person with members who are in Chicago!


Barbara Holder

Members only: Read the full Taxonomy Times on our wiki.

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Taxonomy Times – January 2012

Taxonomy Times – January 2012

an excerpt from the most current issue

Letter from the Chair – Barbara Holder

This month I will focus on SLA’s new strategic vision, released by the Board in a planned series of blog posts at the end of 2011. Having been involved in formulating strategic plans for my chapter and several divisions, I appreciate the value of the exercise and the conversations that surround it. I also know that it is a huge effort and congratulate the SLA Board on their achievement.

The Board invites us all to get involved in making the vision a reality. To get a complete overview, I suggest that you read the blog posts yourself, as they are intended to begin the process of fleshing out the vision for us – but I summarize here to get the ball rolling. Here is the vision:

SLA is a vibrant, global association of professionals who are employed in every sector of the information and knowledge economy. Our members thrive where data, information and knowledge intersect, and our strategic partners support SLA because they believe in the association’s mission and the future of its members. The goal of SLA is to support information professionals as they contribute, in their varied and evolving roles, to the opportunities and achievements of organizations, communities and society.

The Board defines the annual conference as the main benefit to SLA members, and seeks to improve the experience. Tactics mentioned are:

  • Refine the annual conference focus;
  • Increase the specificity of topics;
  • Increase opportunities for learning;
  • Streamline the development of program content;
  • Provide more value to senior members;
  • Develop the virtual conference.

The Board wants to create richer volunteer experiences in roles relevant to today’s information professionals, e.g.

  • Web development
  • Program management
  • Marketing
  • Fundraising
  • Knowledge manager
  • Community manager

Collaboration with library schools and other strategic partners will be a focus, as is growth through offerings to the non-traditional sector, leading to a 15% increase in membership.

Related to “opening new markets,” the Board will initiate a look at the fiscal, governance, geographic, marketing, technology and collaborative structure of the Association.

As announced in January’s Information Outlook, the revised competencies document will be fast-tracked.

The Taxonomy Division Board will look closely at the implications of this SLA Board strategic exercise as it unfolds. After you have read the blog posts, I invite you to post any thoughts via the Division discussion list. The Board will have this on their agenda in the coming months. In the next issue of Taxonomy Times there will be an article focusing on how the SLA vision impacts the Division. Janice Keeler, Chair-Elect, and I also learned more at the Leadership Summit in Atlanta;see Janice’s Summit highlights article. We will also keep you informed via the Division discussion list.

Please feel free to contact me at any time on this or any other SLA-related matter!


Members only: Read the full Taxonomy Times on our wiki.

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