Folksonomy, Taxonomy and Keywords

Out of three, I am pretty sure many of you would have not heard of Folksonomy. Before we dive into Folksonomy let’s see what a Taxonomy is? A Taxonomy is a classification system that is used to classify organisms into different categories and sub-categories. The tags which are used for classification are a standard and were created by experts.

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Like Taxonomy, folksonomy is also a classification system but with a difference. Here, the tags are created by end-users of an application.

Now let’s come to the third part ‘Keywords’. Let’s see how does this fit in? Keywords in SharePoint are stored in the Managed Metadata term store. They are located under System->Keywords. Keywords in this location are termed as Folksonomy since they are created by end-users. But the problem with this arrangement is that the keywords can only be used within the site for which it is configured. If you need to manage the keywords in a central location so that it can be used in all the sites of the site collection, you would need to move the keywords to a term set. Please Note: Once the keywords are moved to a term set , they cannot be moved back. They are trapped in a sense!

Once the keywords are stored in a term set, they are part of a taxonomy. So, the process of moving keywords to a term set is often called as Folksonomy to Taxonomy.

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