May 18, 2022

Using a Taxonomy for Your Database or Website: A Look Behind the Scenes

The following article appears in the June/July 2013 issue of the Bulletin of the Association for Information Science and Technology. 


Using a Taxonomy for Your Database or Website: A Look Behind the Scenes


Marjorie M.K. Hlava


Bulletin of the Association for Information Science and Technology
June/July 2013
Vol 39, No. 5 


Peering behind the screen of a database orwebsite reveals the methods and benefits of incorporating a taxonomy. A digital taxonomy file contains terms, term recordswith details of relationships and a hierarchical structure. The terms are used to categorize content and apply as metanames describing website content items. Digging deeper, the taxonomy terms are stored and associated with a relational database management system, objectoriented database or XML-based database system. Taxonomy terms can be presented to the end user in a browsable format along with term record details for additional guidance. Captured in the inverted index of search software, the terms promote findability and search success. Documents with taxonomy terms attached can be accurately retrieved regardless ofwhere they are held, and terms can be repurposed as site labels and points of association between internal content items.

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About Gary Price

Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.