A Brief History

Made official September 1, 2009 the SLA Taxonomy Division was organized to provide networking, professional education, and a discussion forum for those working with controlled vocabularies and associated metadata.

The Need

One of the core competencies of librarianship relates to organizing information. Important ways of doing this in the electronic age include information architecture, metadata organization and management, and classification (ranging from controlled vocabularies to taxonomy and ontologies). SLA did not currently address these topics in any significant way either in its division structure or in current programming. There are no known international associations specifically for taxonomists and metadata professionals who operate in the variety of organizations which employ SLA members.

However, there clearly is a growing amount of international professional activity going on outside of SLA. The DC area's Taxonomy Tuesday group alone has over 140 people on the list. A commercially-sponsored Taxonomy Community of Practice discussion list has over 900 members worldwide. American Society of Indexers has recently started a taxonomy section. There are significantly more interested in meta data such as the Dublin Core groups. Practitioners are looking for professional homes and networking contacts.