Building a tiny taxonomy: Getting back to my IA roots.


This morning I decided to buckle down and dig into my website redesign project. The main hurdle this week has been getting the taxonomy designed so that content can be filtered and organized by it. I discussed my taxonomy tales a bit before, but now let me tell you where I am. That picture up top is the white board of my first iteration. I went through and marked out the priority subject areas we’re cataloguing. That is a pretty good indicator of the focus of our collection and thus our services. I had sort of hoped that I could use the TRB taxonomy, but when I tried to it was just unwieldy and not really appropriate to our needs. We really only deal with a slice of transportation, and I felt like we needed to also stay relatively superficial. I’m roughly organizing website, books, and journals. I’m not indexing things for TRIS with the TRT.

Our subject areas are:

  • Aviation operations/Airports
  • Bicycles/Pedestrians
  • Energy/Alternative fuels/Fuel cells
  • Finance and economics/Policy
  • Infrastructure
  • Intelligent transportation systems
  • Logistics
  • Pavements
  • Public transportation
  • Sustainability/TOD
  • Traffic engineering
  • Traffic safety/Public health


So then I tried to break out subtopics and see if maybe the heading topics could be refined. Taking it out to this illustrates how several of the subject areas are closely linked related to one another. It gets a little messy, but that makes sense when you have things like “Sustainability” which is still loosely defined. Safety is a huge issue for all the modes, and it’s something we see interest in from just about everybody.

So now that my whiteboard is full, I decided to try and make a diagram of the subjects on the computer.

This shows the sort of network relationship with the ideas. The next step is to plunk this into Drupal and see how it works. Hopefully it won’t be too messy, but who knows. I also need to make sure the terminology is sound, which of course it will depend on who I talk to and will vary from desk to desk. Oh well…

When this is done I’ll start worrying about formats.

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