Taxonomies, semantic tagging and structured content – better together!

How taxonomy management and semantic tagging helps you make the most of your DITA content

Maura Moran, Senior Content Consultant at Mekon, presented next in a session about how taxonomy management, semantic tagging helps you make the most of your DITA content.

This webinar took place on the 12th October 2018. To view a recording of the webinar, click here to visit Adobe DITA World 2018 – The Recordings web page.

Maura started out by explaining that non-structured content is often text that isn’t searchable, and difficult to repurpose and re-use. Any structure within the document indicated typographically, like with heading formatting, etc. Structured content, on the other hand, is made of meaningful, granular chunks, which gives content more flexibility and meaning.

Semantic content, however, is structured content in which the meaning is explicit. The benefits of using semantic content are that it’s complete and consistent, easier to author and read, re-useable at a granular level, so that granular content could be used in things like search engine snippets. Semantic content’s consistent, predictable answer structure helps reader comprehension, and can lend itself easily to multichannel output.

Adding metadata helps as well. Info about content, some in the structure and in the content, can be added to find and manage the content.

When adding semantic content and metadata together, the benefits increase. You get better searching and SEO, and granular content that’s easy to find and recombine. This leads to more reuse.

This is where taxonomy helps. Taxonomy is a controlled vocabulary—a rigid list of terms used in metadata for consistency. Taxonomy adds relationships to vocabularies by connecting terms to each other. This yields greater context and meaning, provides better searching; drives navigation such as pick lists, and improves personalization and customize outputs. You can use taxonomy to extend your tagging in DITA by identifying your concepts in a meaningful way by connecting them to real-world items. You can also easily connect to the same concept elsewhere in your organization or to your partners, or open data sources. Taxonomy supplements what you know about your concepts with additional information.

Maura used a recipe as an example of content where there were some issues if steps or ingredients were in the wrong order. The taxonomy is embedded in the authoring tool to ensure vocabulary and synonyms are synchronized.

Maura’s tips for managing metadata and taxonomy:

  • Have a strategy—know the definition and purpose to users, where it’s generated and how it’s validated.
  • Validate! With vocabularies or field definitions (such as date formats).
  • Make it easy to collect and manage—generate automatically where possible, use values from other systems, and allow content to inherit properties from a wider collection.
  • Outsource for scale, but remember some metadata needs to be done by subject matter experts.
  • Consider adopting an industry standard such as Dublin Core or

There are many taxonomy management tools to choose from. Use the one that meets your needs best. You should ensure that you’ve got a system that manages tags, as it probably does some taxonomy management. Specialist tax management offers the most sophisticated term linking and management, workflow, reporting, etc. Use a specialist tool if you want to manage tools in one place and share across systems.

Mekon developed a tool called Semantic Booster that extends AEM’s capabilities by connecting the PoolParty app (a taxonomy management tool) to AEM. It helps provide the power of enterprise taxonomy management combined with AEM tagging and extends AEM’s tagging capabilities.

During the Q&A session of the presentation, Maura suggested Protégé (as long as you use the pizza tutorial first) or Full Force Ontology for free or low-cost taxonomy management tools. The Finalyser product by also has a plug-in for FrameMaker 2019 as well that can work.

Maura Moran wrapped up her talk encouraging attendees to consider becoming taxonomy experts, as they are needed more these days. She also recommended two books to read to learn more: The Accidental Taxonomist by Heather Hedden and Building Enterprise Taxonomies by Darin Stewart.

Note: This is an extract from a blog post by Danielle M. Villegas on the Adobe DITA website. The full blog post may be read here.