How to Build Your Category's Taxonomy
by Rdkeating25

So you've been working hard to create the most comprehensive directory of Widget sites on the Web. You have amassed a category with perhaps 50, 100, or even 200 sites. Or maybe you've just been promoted to a higher category with a lot of sites, but the organization is not ideal or may not exist at all.

Does this sound familiar?

Without concise and detailed rules, organizing a growing category can seem like a daunting task. However, with a few rules of thumb, you can easily create a sensible, user friendly taxonomy for your category.

When and How Should I Create Subcategories?

The most important thing is to keep your users in mind. Organize sites in a way that will make sense to users looking for information on your topic, rather than organizing sites in the way that's easiest for you.

When is it time to create subcategories? When your list of sites covers a lot of diverse topics and trying to find a specific type of site becomes difficult. Creating subcategories makes it easier for users to
find sites on specific subtopics. 

Some general pointers:

- Don't create subcategories until you have a healthy list of sites. Generally, you should have a list of 20 or more sites before you being creating subcategories. As a rule of thumb, each category should contain at least 5 sites. There may be times when you'll want to create categories with less than 5 sites, but this should be done is exceptional and unique cases.

- Don't create subcategories because you feel like a long list of sites is considered a no-no. There are times when an uncategorized list of sites is preferable for browsing purposes. This is true when you have a long list of sites that all offer the same thing, and can't be subcategorized any further. The fewer times a user has to click to get to information, the better.

- When creating subcats, generally avoid repeating terms used in the main category. This is not a hard and fast rule. There will be times when repeating the parent category is necessary to make sense to the user.

- Try making use of the preferred term list: -- this is contains a list of categories that can be found under just about any subject category.

Creating Topic Subcategories

The ODP organizes sites by subject, with the exception of the Regional branch. When organizing sites, you should always try to organize them into topical subcategories.

When considering subject categories, take a look at how other web guides, directories and resources organize your topic. Look at subject-specific web guides, and see how they breakdown the topic.
Check out publications like journals, sites for professional associations or other related organizations.

Take a look at other categories related to your new subcategory and be careful not to create categories that basically duplicate topics in other parts of the directory. For example, if you are going to create a new category called Sports/Women, make sure Society/People/Women/Sports doesn't already exist. Instead, create an @link to the category that could be considered a sub-topic of your category.

There may come a point where you just can't organize subjects any further. When this happens, then there is a couple things you could do: organize them into an alpha-bar, organize them by regional attributes, or leave them in one list.

NOTE: Again, there is nothing wrong with a category with a long list of 50, 100 or even 200 sites. With categories this large, don't feel like you have to stuff these sites into subcategories.

Creating Alpha-bars

There are cases, however, where a long list of uncategorized sites becomes unmanageable for the editor and the end user. This happens in categories that consist of several hundred sites offering similar information. The alpha-bar is a good way to break up a list of several hundred links so it makes it easier to load pages, and to browse sites alphabetically. 

Creating Regional Subcategories

Organizing sites into regional subcategories is always tempting because some geographic attribute can be gleaned from just about any site. Regional organization should be done only after you've can't organize further by subtopic.

Remember, the Regional branch organizes sites by location. So, if the "by region" approach is the only sensible way to organize sites in your category, you should not replicate the Regional branch in any way.

The basic points to remember about creating regional subcategories are:

- Create regional subcategories when no other type of organization ( subtopic) will work.
- Don't duplicate categories in the Regional branch.
- Do not further build out a regional category beyond the <country>/<1st level country subdivision> (e.g. State, Province, (country, for UK) ).
- Do not create topical cats under a regional category.

The complete guidelines for creating Regional subcategories is available at .

Good Luck!

Hopefully, this guide contains enough information for you to start creating subcategories. If you have any further questions, consult an upper level editor through editor feedback, or ask in the forums. 

- RDKeating25