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  • Writer's pictureShawna Applequist

Taxonomies Overview

Introduction to Taxonomies

WAND talks a lot about taxonomies, but what are they really and how do they work? Taxonomies are in essence, an extremely powerful tool for organizing and managing your data or content into specific categories. They are systematic systems for organizing information in a structured manner for easy retrieval and analysis. Taxonomies are widely used in various fields from aerospace to wastewater.

Taxonomies are particularly useful in every company for organizing digital content such as databases and content management systems (CMS). By using taxonomies, users can easily locate and retrieve information based on specific criteria, which saves tremendous time and effort. Organizing and managing information is essential in today's data-driven world. Effective retrieval and analysis of data make it easier to find and use relevant information. Users can streamline their workflow and improve productivity, which ultimately leads to better decision-making outcomes.

Why Your Organization Needs a Taxonomy

Why might your organization need a taxonomy? I am so glad you asked! People estimate that 90% of a company's data is unstructured data. Unstructured data is simply any information that is not organized with a pre-defined data model. Typically, unstructured data is text-heavy, but it is not limited to just text. It can include other formats such as rich media (eg. audio, surveillance data, or weather data), IoT (Internet of Things) data (eg. sensor data), or any other kind of human- or machine-generated data. The real problem that surfaces with all that unstructured data is the scale of the datasets and the inability to efficiently utilize any of that data.

Many companies choose to let this unstructured data fall into silos to never be used or seen again. However, there are problems which lie under the surface. Because this unstructured data is so difficult to find, employees spend large portions of their work weeks simply trying to find the information they need. All this searching leads to frustration, increases the complexity of company processes, and creates additional legwork for employees.

The solution, as you may have already guessed, is implementing a taxonomy system into your company to help structure all that unstructured data –– thereby making it more findable which decreases frustration, simplifies company processes, and reduces the time employees spend looking for documents which in turn increases the time they spend on the problem they were working on in the first place! Using a taxonomy helps your systems know what the data is, where to put it, and when to retrieve it.

How WAND's Taxonomies Work

WAND utilizes domain experts and library science experts to create and maintain their taxonomies. Each one is handmade with the specific industry in mind to create a prebuilt product that can be immediately imported into your system and needs only minor tweaking for specific company terminology. WAND provides an 80% jumpstart which allows you to turn a challenging build into a simple edit.

WAND has over seventy-five different taxonomies covering all domains of knowledge. Each of these taxonomies are created following the ANSI/NISO Z39.19 standards for taxonomy development to ensure clear and accurate knowledge representation for any given domain as well as application into over one hundred systems. With the WAND Taxonomy Library Portal, you can explore all the taxonomies offered, find the right one for your business, and download portions (or even the full taxonomy) with just a few clicks. Once you have downloaded the taxonomy, simply hop over to the application you are using and import.

Once the taxonomy has been imported into your application, the process for using the taxonomy is simple. You can use WAND's taxonomies to enhance search, train AI, manage and maintain metadata, and virtually any other project in which you are currently managing unstructured data.


Every company on the planet who deals with unstructured data can manage their data more efficiently. Building a taxonomy from scratch can be an overwhelming and time-consuming process. This does not need to scare you away from moving toward a taxonomy project, however. Utilizing a prebuilt foundation taxonomy, like those offered by WAND, can make this project even more attainable. Consider adding a taxonomy to your company's data project today and reach out to WAND if you would like a live demonstration of our products.


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