May 25 2011
Rather late to the party on this one, but I finally got around to reading The Accidental Taxonomist by Heather Hedden. I have to confess to bias as I was very pleased to see that my FUMSI article on folksonomies was mentioned in the recommended reading section. Written in a clear, sensible and readable tone, Hedden gives a very thorough overview of practical taxonomy work. The book works as a textbook, but reads pleasantly and although I anticipate referring to it as a reference resource, I enjoyed reading it chapter by chapter.
I am very pleased to have so much practical and useful information in one place (for example lists of relevant standards, definitions of taxonomies, ontologies, and thesauri, the functions of taxonomies) as in my day-to-day work, I often have to explain the basics to people. I have been recommending the book to my team, especially those who are new to taxonomies, and they have appreciated its clarity and comprehensiveness as a “field guide”. It covered familiar ground, but for me much of that was my “tacit knowledge” that I had never fully articulated to myself, so I am sure that this “knowledge capture” from the mind of an experienced taxonomy practitioner will be very useful.