[thelist] implementing a folksonomy in a cms

Sarah Adams mrsanders at designshift.com
Mon Mar 13 13:27:09 CST 2006

One of my clients is a large NGO whose site is based on a custom-built 
CMS. The site has a hierarchy of categories which each contain 
sub-categories and/or documents. The hierarchy is based on how the 
content managers for the site think about their information, which is 
not necessarily how site users think about the same information. Some of 
the category names make sense only to those who are intimately familiar 
with the workings of the organization. Also, sometimes the people 
posting information to the site just want to post it as quickly as 
possible, and so the information isn't filled out as completely and 
accurately as it could be.

My dilemma is in trying to make information on the site easy-to-find 
despite the sometimes poor naming conventions and the frequent lack of 
details provided by content managers. My thinking these days has been to 
implement a folksonomy on the site, allowing both content managers and 
site users to tag categories or documents with key words. The key words 
would then become part of the searchable data, hopefully making 
information easier to find.

I'm fairly confident that, if it's used a lot, this feature will be a 
great improvement to the site, but I'm a little worried that I'll put in 
the work to add this feature to the site and it just won't get used at 
all. Does anyone have any suggestions of other strategies I can try, or 
of ways I can make the folksonomy feature as popular as it needs to be 
in order to be useful?

sarah adams
web developer & programmer
portfolio: http://sarah.designshift.com
blog: http://hardedge.ca

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