SLA Annual Conference 2019 in Cleveland – Taxonomy Division Events and Programs

The SLA Taxonomy Division is celebrating its tenth anniversary with a full day CE workshop, eight educational sessions, two co-sponsored sessions, and three other division events at the SLA 2019 Annual Conference.  Between the education sessions and the networking opportunities, we hope to see you at the conference!  For conference information and registration see the SLA website.

Saturday, June 15, 2019

Taxonomy Design & Creation  8:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.

Full Day Continuing Education Workshop  - Level: Fundamental

Fee: $225 (SLA Members)  $415 (Non-members)

CE registration is independent of conference registration. You can do one or the other or both  

Taxonomies are becoming increasingly important and common for organizing and retrieving information. Implementations include library systems, museum and archive systems, digital asset management systems, content management systems, document management systems, records management systems, web publishing, and data analysis. Through this CE course, information professionals can go beyond a basic understanding about taxonomies and learn the practical aspects of designing and creating taxonomies and thesauri so that they can take on or manage a taxonomy development project. Standards and best practices are important, but do not cover every situation, and there are numerous occasions when different factors need to be considered in making decisions in designing and creating taxonomies. This CE course provides guidance in making those decisions.

Speaker: Heather Hedden, Senior Vocabulary Editor, Gale, A Cengage Company
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Taxonomy Division No-Host Dinner -  7:30 – 9:30 p.m.

Join Taxonomy Division members and friends for an evening of tasty food and good networking at Lola Bistro . Open to anyone interested in talking taxonomy or learning more about the Division. Registration at the SLA conference site is required and free. Attendees pay for their own food and beverages.

Sunday, June 16, 2019


Ensuring Semantic Interoperability and Creating Interoperable Taxonomies – 2:30 – 4:00 p.m.

Within their enterprises, information professionals are often aware of the need for interoperability, whether they are simply starting a new pick list in SharePoint, enriching an existing taxonomy in a cost-effective way, or establishing a robust structure for cross-database and cross-lingual indexing and searching.  Understand the theory, and dive deeply into the concepts of microthesauri, satellite vocabularies, open umbrella structures, metathesauri, virtual harmonization through Linked Data, and bridge ontologies in this Master Class sponsored by the Taxonomy Division.

Speakers: Marcia Zeng, Kent State University School of Information; Margie Hlava, Access Innovations, Inc.

Moderator: Janice Keeler, Taxonomy Division Treasurer and Chair, 2019 Program Planning

Level:    Advanced / Master Class

Unit Sponsors: Taxonomy, Information Technology

Taxonomy Governance IRL – 4:15 – 5:30 p.m.

Your taxonomy needs structure and control and yet also needs to be flexible and adaptable. How do you find a balance? How does everybody else do it? Listen to a panel of taxonomists discussing the governance challenges they've addressed and best practices they've adopted, followed by the opportunity for interactive discussion and questions.

Speakers:  Susannah Woodbury, Overstock; Paula McCoy, Proquest

Moderator: Michele Lamorte,

Level:    Intermediate

Unit Sponsors: Taxonomy, Information Technology, SOLO

Monday, June 17, 2019

Taxonomy Roundtable – 9:00 – 10:30 a.m.

Join fellow taxonomists and ontologists to discuss hot topics, areas of concern, and share success stories.  Tables will be loosely grouped by industry to facilitate networking as well as learning.  Discussion time will be followed by summary reports from each table about the issues and solutions discussed. 

Moderator: Margie Hlava, Access Innovations, Inc.

Level:    Intermediate

Unit Sponsors: Taxonomy, Information Technology


The Accidental Digital Asset Manager: How traditional library skills transfer to the DAM world – 9:00 – 10:30 a.m.

Do you already have what it takes to be DAM champion? The new DAM Salary Survey ( showed an increase in the number of respondents who hold an MLS or are planning to get an MLS. Panelists will share personal stories of their Digital Asset Management career path and how their library education supported them in their career development and success in DAM. This session is for anyone who is interested in becoming a Digital Asset Manager or who may already be in a DAM role and wants to understand the core skillset necessary to be successful. Whether or not you have your MLS, this session will show participants how traditional library skills transfer to the DAM world and how to market your library knowledge and experience to DAM hiring managers.

Speakers: Laura Fu, EMMSphere; Jennifer Tyner, Progressive Insurance; Cynthia Mathews, The Sherwin-Williams Company; Jennifer Pflaumer, Paroo

 Moderator: James King, NIH Library

Level: Fundamental

Unit Sponsors: IT Division, Digital Asset Management Section; Solo Librarians Division; Taxonomy Division


Big Data and Controlled Vocabularies –   10:45 – 11:15 a.m.

Big data needs controlled vocabularies to improve search, enable personalization and reporting, and more.  Get a quick overview of why and how people are using taxonomies or ontologies and linked data to manage and retrieve data.

Speaker: Camille Mathieu, NASA/Caltech Jet Propulsion Laboratory

Moderator: Amanda Bloom, WWE

Level:    Fundamental

Length: 20 minutes

Unit Sponsors: Taxonomy, Information Technology


Taxonomy Basics – 11:15 – 11:45 a.m.

If you need a detailed introduction to taxonomy concepts, we hope you'll take the full day CE course offered at SLA 2019, Taxonomy Design & Creation.  However, if you can't, and you want to understand the differences between a taxonomy, a thesaurus, and an ontology, come to this session to learn some of the basics of information organization structures, rules and standards.

Speaker: Heather Kotula, Access Innovations, Inc.

Moderator: Janice Keeler, Taxonomy Division Treasurer and Chair, 2019 Program Planning

Level:    Fundamental

Length: 20 minutes

Unit Sponsors: Taxonomy, Information Technology

Business and Brainstorming Jamboree – 12:00 – 1:00 p.m.

Join your division leaders and committee chairs at this free flowing, informal event to talk about current events and future directions. Share your thoughts and connect with other division members.


Keeping Your Taxonomy Fresh and Relevant –  4:45 – 5:45 p.m.

You've built a beautiful taxonomy - now what? This session addresses skills which enable controlled vocabularies to evolve with your users and product needs.  Topics include: identifying and engaging stakeholders, task management, establishing metrics, making a data-driven case, and incorporating responsive change into your taxonomy management.

Speaker: Marisa R. Hughes, American Psychological Association

Moderator: Edee Edwards, National Fire Protection Association

Level:    Intermediate

Unit Sponsors: Taxonomy, Pharmaceutical & Health Technology, Information Technology


Data Literacy 101 - 4:45 – 5:45 p.m.

Data literacy has become a fundamental skill as the volume, variety, and velocity at which data are being created grows rapidly and intersects more with our daily lives.  No longer reserved for data scientists, the democratization of data means that more people have access to data with the power to analyze, create, and shape the future using tools that are user friendly and often free. The world today requires librarians to embrace a different approach to data and rethinking what we choose to collect and how we use data to make decisions.  This session is designed with the goal of helping attendees understand the basics of data literacy – considering approaches to understanding, using, and communicating with data more effectively.

Speaker: Anatasia Diamond-Ortiz, Lorain Public Library System in Lorain, Ohio

Moderator: Thérèse Kristine Mainville-Celso, McGill University

Level: Fundamental

Unit Sponsors: IT Division, Leadership & Management Division, Military Division, Taxonomy Division


Taxonomy Division Open House  8:00 – 10:00 p.m.

Join the Taxonomy Division for our 10th anniversary celebration at our annual open house.

Sponsor: Access Innovations, Inc.

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Taxonomy-Ontology Conversions: Case Studies – 10:15 – 11:30 a.m.

Want to use Linked Data, ensure interoperability, and/or support search and discovery with the capabilities of an ontology?  Find out more about ontologies and learn from practitioners who have done taxonomy-ontology conversions.

Speakers:  Edee Edwards, National Fire Protection Association; David Bender, Radiological Society of North America; Mary Chitty, Cambridge Healthtech Institute

Moderator: Heather Kotula, Access Innovations, Inc.

Level:    Intermediate

Unit Sponsors: Taxonomy, Pharmaceutical & Health Technology, Information Technology


Taxonomy Tools and Tool Evaluation – 1:30 – 2:30 p.m.

Excel remains the incubator for many taxonomies, and some content management systems have basic taxonomy features. However, if you need additional functionality such as customized relationships, auto-categorization and taxonomy use in multiple applications, there are a surprising array of tools, modules, features and functionalities to consider. How do you know what you need? How do you avoid buying too much, or too little, functionality? Join us for a roundup of the state of the technology related to controlled vocabularies and how to evaluate tools based on your requirements and constraints (including technology, time, resources and money).

Speaker: Marti Heyman, OCLC; Heather Hedden, Gale, a Cengage Company

Moderator: Paula McCoy, Proquest

Level:    Intermediate

Unit Sponsors: Taxonomy, Information Technology, SOLO