Your taxonomy is essentially a specialized dictionary for your organization. Defining and adhering to its terms is a key ingredient for successful metadata. But what if two internal teams describe the same object or idea using different terminology? Or what if the same language is used two different ways?
Small linguistic inconsistencies can create long-term confusion within your DAM, so it’s best to sort these situations out as soon as they emerge.
It all starts with communication. Clarify:
- Which terms are shared by the different teams, but with different meanings?
- What terms are different among the teams, but in fact mean the same thing?
Ask the teams:
- Why have these differences manifested in the teams’ processes?
- What is unique between the taxonomies they’re using?
- Where is there overlap, and where is there not?
- Are these terminological differences justifiable?
- Or is there some ‘legacy’ thinking at work?
Once you’re all on the same page, you can move more confidently toward a solution. If these terms are slightly different ways of expressing the same thing, a collective compromise will save headaches for all. If there are real differences, sharpening your terms will reduce clutter when a user is searching for a piece of media.
Thankfully, most DAMs are built to accommodate these scenarios, with role- or project-based filters that will configure the system to display only relevant information to a given end-user. Establish which terms need to overlap and which need to be unique, and then use this information to create helpful role-permissions in the DAM, so that everyone can find what they need, using language that’s intuitive to them.