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Managing Electronic Records: Methods, Best Practices, and Technologies by Robert F. Williams, Robert F. Smallwood

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CHAPTER 6

Taxonomy Development for E–Records

Barb Blackburn, CRM, with Robert Smallwood; edited by Seth Earley

The creation of electronic documents and records is exploding exponentially, multiplying at an increasing rate, and sifting through all this information results in a lot of wasted, unproductive (and expensive) knowledge–worker time. This has real costs to the enterprise. According to the study, “The High Cost of Not Finding Information,” an IDC report, “knowledge workers spend at least 15 to 25 percent of the workday searching for information. Only half the searches are successful.”1 Experts point to poor taxonomy design as being at the root of these failed searches and lost productivity.

Taxonomies are at the heart of the solution to harnessing and governing information. Taxonomies are hierarchical classification structures used to standardize the naming and organization of information, and their role and use in managing electronic records cannot be overestimated.

Although the topic of taxonomies can get complex, in electronic records management (ERM), they are a sort of online card catalog that is cross–referenced with hyperlinks that is used to organize and manage records and documents.2

According to Forrester Research, taxonomies “represent agreed–upon terms and relationships between ideas or things and serve as a glossary or knowledge map helping to define how the business thinks about itself and represents itself, its products and services to the outside world.” ...

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