If you are a knowledge worker, you need to know how to classify content. Classification skills help you better organize content on your computer, categorize your emails, and compose documents. If you have responsibility for a Web site, classification is an essential skill.
First, a little background. Classification (taxonomy) is a type of metadata. The purpose of metadata is to provide essential information about a document. Metadata and classification are part of the discipline of information architecture, whose focus is to organize and lay out content.
Classification is not as simple as you may believe. Classifying 20 documents isn't difficult. That's because no matter how you classify them, it will be relatively easy to find what you want. Classifying 2,000 documents, however, is a very difficult task.
Classification is not something you can master in a weekend. Becoming an expert takes years. However, if you want to master content you must master classification.
Classification is an inherent part of creating a document. Every time you write a heading, you are creating a classification. If the document is long (more than 600 words), you should have subheadings. These are subclassifications underneath the heading classification.
Good internal classification has three key objectives:
Classification experts tend to focus on organizing complete documents, books, music, and other content. They classify for two reasons:
Whether you are classifying your emails, your content on your computer, or the content on your Web site, these general rules of classification are useful:
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