Taxonomy in Content Curation

I ran across an interesting post by Karan Bavandi: “Link Management System” vs. “Content Management Systems” – In search of tools for curators.  He talks about the differences between Content Management Systems and Link Management Systems for curation.  I’m not sure I buy his analysis, but let me drill down on one of the points having to do with managing taxonomies:

The site “Social Media Informer” is an example of using a CMS platform to do curation.  First I have to admit that they have done a very good job of building a comprehensive taxonomy (classification) system to organize all the content they serve.  But the site also proves my point that CMS systems are not the right solution for managing curated content for the following reasons.

  • As the number of links grow, finding the right information becomes harder
  • Classifying each link based on tens if not hundreds of categories becomes a huge burden
  • Re-engineering the taxonomy is a huge task

He has some good points.  We certainly needed to address two of them.

Automated Classification

The system certainly needs to be able to automatically classify into the taxonomy (at least at a starting point).  We rely on various semantic search approaches in order to provide an initial classification of all content that comes in.  A content curator can override it, but that’s actually fairly rare.

Without automated classification, the only other solution would be to rely on crowdsourcing. There’s just too much content flowing through and too many topics for a few curators to effectively deal with the flow.  The only other solution is to rely on many people tagging the content.  But that comes with various risks.

Taxonomy Navigation

The system also needs to be able to provide navigation support through the taxonomy.  I agree that our topic categories and long list of topics can be challenging.  Once it gets close to 1,000 topics, it’s simply hard to find topics and navigate.  We are continually looking for ways to address this.

One thing we have done to make life better for users is that once a user begins to go through topics, the topics are sorted based on their relevance to the selected topic.

As an example, when I select Social Media B2B, the keywords on the left become specific to that topic.  If you look at the tools section you see:

These are selected because they relate to the B2B based on what the content tells us.  This is essential to help with navigating the large list of topics.

2 Responses to “Taxonomy in Content Curation”

  1. Karan Bavandi November 30, 2011 at 11:36 am #

    I just posted another article on curation and how it conveys thought leadership. Take a look –

  2. Tony Sarris September 17, 2012 at 10:12 am #

    You are spot on in noting the problems associated with manual content curation, including but not limited to the need to constantly maintain taxonomies and to do automatic classification. Primal has a unique product that filters [web] content based on the interest networks of individual users. Rather than maintain a rigid knowledge representation, Primal uses an atomic KR along with a set of knowledge generation rules. This provides a computational semantic engine that generates interest networks or taxonomies dynamically — on the fly. Applications can easily use the semantic engine through a public API service. The service is currently in alpha and is about to go commercial. Check it out at

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