About the Bloggers

Marlene earned her stripes as a leader in taxonomy management when she led a team, as a System Development Manager at Digital Equipment Corporation that developed one of the first successful corporate implementations of a faceted taxonomy system. TIMs was used to manage a network of distributed business intelligence applications. The system accelerated tagging through use of cr0ss-connections (RDF-like) relationships, and was tied into a global search interface, so that the system could automatically highlight user terms that had no matches to be researched for addition to the taxonomy.  Since then,  Marlene has done research on taxonomies at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT )and worked at Harvard Business School Publishing.   Over the past 10 years she has worked in education, training and consulting.  Marlene has a lifelong interest in making information accessible.  She holds masters degrees in Library and Information Science, Education, and  History. In the 1970’s, she served as a Acting Regional Historian of the National Park Service, serving the North Atlantic Region.

Heather Hedden is a  highly respected speaker, lecturer and consultant in taxonomy development and
information architecture through Hedden Information Management .   She teaches online and onsite continuing education classes, “Taxonomies & Controlled Vocabularies” and “Creating Website Indexes,” through Simmons   College Graduate School of Library and Information Science .
Heather  has published numerous articles on information management, taxonomies, and indexing in /EContent Magazine/, /Intranets/, /The Indexer/, /Key Words/, and other publications. She has  also written a book, /Indexing Specialties: Web Sites//, published in
2007 by Information Today Inc. She is the founder and manager of the  Taxonomies & Controlled Vocabularies Special Interest Group
<taxonomies-sig.org> of the American Society for Indexing and past president of the New England Chapter of the American Society for Indexing.


4 thoughts on “About the Bloggers

  1. Hi Marlene,

    I just came across your blog and am delighted to find one dedicated to taxonomy; looking forward to digging more deeply into it.

    I am a user experience designer working with the County of Marin in California, where we are redesigning the public-facing and internal websites. I am hoping to find links to government taxonomies for use in content classification, tagging, and by extension, navigation.

    It seems that there should be some consistency in vocabulary across the government spectrum that is ideally based on the use of plain language. Perhaps some of the building blocks are already in place, since many of the functions of county government here would be similar to those of other local governments, and even state and federal governments.

    Any guidance or pointers that you can provide would be helpful.


    Janey Fritsche

  2. Hi Janey,

    You do beautiful work. In fact, the Government of the United Kingdom has a public services vocabulary (PSV), and they just released a semantic web website using RDF which allows local governments to create content that can be managed by shared taxonomies and metadata. The link is http://www.direct.gov.uk/en/index.htm. More locally, Joseph Busch and his team at Taxonomy Stategies http://www.taxonomystrategies.com have done projects in the USA modifying UK PSV, notably for the City of St. Louis. Joseph and his team have a case study about the St. Louis project, but even better, they are located right across the Bay in San Francisco.

    Obviously, even if you find a taxonomy, each governmental entity has its own ways of organizing politically whether it’s town, precincts, or neighborhoods, and will have different services it delivers and different priorities. Joseph’s team can help you with taxonomy validation techniques that can determine under which facets, terms and content should be classified to make it easier for your users to find information.

    We encourage you to use a faceted taxonomy. The facets can be mapped to fields in your metadata. Once you have the metadata, it is easier to create templates that can be used by local agencies to update their data to the common taxonomy/metadata schema.

    I am very interested in this topic, as a great deal of work could be done to help improve access to our local, state and federal information. Please contact Joseph, and please share what you learn. I’m also available for consulting assistance (who wouldn’t want the chance to be in Marin County!).

    Marlene Rockmore

  3. Hi Marlene,

    Thanks so much for your thoughtful reply.

    As it happens, I came across Taxonomy Strategies yesterday, and Ron Daniel was very helpful in providing a slide show of the St. Louis project. I’m still going over that information.

    I appreciate your providing me a link to the recently released UK website; I haven’t seen it before.

    From what I’ve been pulling up googling taxonomy, it looks like the UK and New Zealand have been doing quite a bit of work in that area. Hopefully, we’ll embrace it soon in the US. I think it is a very good idea to share taxonomies at the local and county levels, as well as the state and federal level in the US. (Of course, what’s that saying about herding cats? 🙂 Regardless, it just makes sense.

    Thanks for your suggestion about using faceted taxonomy. We are just starting to investigate various approaches for the work ahead, so we are open to best practices input.

    I’ll share with you what I learn, and certainly keep you in mind for consulting assistance.


    Janey Fritsche

  4. Hi Marlene,

    I know that you know about the work that Taxonomy Strategies did with the City of St. Louis, but I thought maybe others reading this might appreciate some background. Ron Daniel said that it is fine to share. A part of Ron’s email is below. It includes a link to the slide show.




    We also think that there should be some sharing of a taxonomy at the municipal and county level.

    As it happens, we did a job a couple of years ago with St. Louis, which is a combined city/county government. The manager of that effort gave a presentation at Taxonomy Bootcamp – the slides are available at:

    Things to note: The metadata spec for them called for a number of fields. Beyond title, description, and date, there were several fields defined which would take values from predefined lists. You will probably need to change some of the fields, but locations (such as precincts), organization (i.e. county government org chart), content type (brochures, job ads, press releases, regulations, licenses, etc.) and topic (planning, safety, justice, waste disposal, education, recreation, …) are very likely to be lists you may want.

    The St. Louis presentation shows the topic hierarchy they came up with. It is based on a system from the UK, but considerably simplified. It is presented in the deck a few times, be sure to look at the version “after testing” because testing showed some areas of confusion that they addressed.

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