Taxonomy + Categorization

Background

Since 1995, me (DaveO) have published extensively on the internet, both on site he may have controlled as well as contributed content managed by someone else.

This site, previously “living” under uncleweed.net or feasthouse.wordpress.com has suffered from a lack of cohesion, aestethic consistency nor any sense that the content is related in any way. Further, content was published canonically at no less than 12 websites on various “platforms” including wordpress.com, drupal, old html sites and various wordpress.org which i have stewardship over.

Results have left the content hidden its own weight and good intentions. The massive amount of content no matter how sorted, leaves user interface and navigation unwieldy and visually distracting.

The result as it is: daveostory.com is living as a wordpress.org site hosted at laughingsquid.com. For the most part, all categories are stripped from the imported posts. There are approximately 5100 posts (including some simple link blogs.) Included are many audio and video pod files. There are also many busted links, missing images and general sloppiness from the import.

Objective

To create a cohesive environment for DaveO’s work that allows the audience to view and participate with the content easily.

And allows easy consistent styles for publishing, conventions for categorizing, purposeful tagging and denotation of project (special field for TRI code?) and ear work was created or published. I suspect content may be backdated to original creation date (i.e. often in the 1970s).

Design interface and arrange the content in such a manner as to:

  • Allow easy featuring of approx 10 projects on a dynamic front page.
  • Blog with act as a mighty CMS sortable by categories, search or tags
  • Store component can be added as a subdomain

 Creating a comprehensive, searchable archive for DaveO personal and academic use. A content which allows “backfilling” analog content.

“Future proof” my content by sharing in most durable places ensuring redundancy and a sense of cohesion by logging and mapping content as needed.

Create a CSS style sheet to ensure all posts adhere to a consistent look and typefaces are pleasing. These styles and aesthetics are a project in itself as will extend to other digital and physical artifacts: books, cards, posters, …

Develop an identity which incorporates all the facets of public facing Dave including (but not limited to): Community Manager guy, Dot Com start up guy, hockey culture pundit, renegade dope smoking documenter, poet and poetry enthusiast, counter culture historian, occasional musician and friends of bands. Do’er of Project, Maker of Stories.

Considerations

I have a tendency to love to make content but loathe to organize and manage the content, however, i am rather picky how posts are produced from the copy to the layout. As such, i need to create (with a designer) a style guide for the “types” of posts.

Many of the imported posts are links from “link blogs” including Tumblr and Delicious. These should live in the site but filed in a category of their own and do not appear in the general chronology of the site.

As such, one may consider the site as 3 major components:

  1. Dave Work
  2. Dave Resources
  3. Buy Dave Stuff

There will be a collection of static pages outlining:

  • Media Kit (bio, headshots, descriptions etc. speaking and publishing highlights)
  • Speaking & Presenting
  • Media & Publications
  • More DaveO – social – like and widgets to social life stream and sign up for email
  • Shop Dave – soon a static page which widgets linking off to Amazon, Etsy etc.

Conundrums

The massive breadth of content does have some connective sinew in that it is all things i created or things i referenced for some project, but i seek opinion about how to organize the content in such a way that:

  • encompasses all content types
  • minimizes conflict or confusion or duplication
  • each posts belongs to only category
  • categories can have sub-categories but not deeper

The 3 primary methods i’ve considered for sorting all the cotent reuqires a subjective and objective exercise determine which direction as back tracking would be tiresome and not choosing a flexible enough framework can stymie the site in the long term.

Along with determining how the content should be organized, there need consideration about how these categories (whether dates, mediums, projects …) will be visually displayed to encourage discovery and crossover between projects.

I feel this is an opportunity to present visitors with a few greatest hits/featured stuff on the front page and then provide a “Library Page” which offers browsing by TL categories, a large search box and a tag cloud allowing folks explore however they feel most attracted to.

A tool like “you might also like” or “more posts about this” will be very useful to guide visitors through various rabbit holes of the site.

Exploring the options yields the following thoughts.

Project:

I naturally divide my works into projects and many of the projects yield dozens of posts (i.e. True North Media House) while some offer a few but the contents are critical (i.e. SXSW Tom Sawyer). Others which would be entered “posthumously” like HempenRoad, could have backdated production journals from 1995 and also new posts of “go watch this” which in the same project bucket. In considering a list of projects, i would suspect 50 with a significant bucket of links, resources, asides and notes. Further, if organizing this way, i suspect we’d add a custom field in WP and add a particular TRI code for each project.

Medium:

When i initially created the “2nd generation” HTML Uncleweed.net site, i had organized by medium {words, audio pods, paint & draw, films & vids, resources} While buckets could catch most stuff, two problems stand out:

Small Problem: As i added more mediums to my skill set (i.e. speaking) i could add to TLN

Bigger Prob: Many/most of my projects are mixed media and can contain 4-5 medium bundled into the same work. (i.e. the Varley project had words, photos, maps, paintings, poetry, film and narrative plus has publishing credits – as such, where does it get sorted… which leads too…

Theme/Type:

Not sure which is the best term but i’m getting type of final thing is became. as such a potential list could include:

  • Articles
  • Essays
  • Mixed Media
  • Poetry
  • Short Fiction

But a perfunctory glance of the list, i can see it already invites confusion for many of the same reasons as medium in that many projects are mixed media and these types of general buckets feel vague and uninviting.

Chronology:

Chronology while tidy is already included as a secondary organizational process whether wanted it not as every post gets a date/time stamp.

My initial thoughts about this method heavily weighs to the recent years as the bulk of publications in digital form are from the past 15 years, the “2000s” would be laden with “1990s” tailing off. I do hope to back fill to create a complete life documentation site but concerned about the ease of navigation, and the general utility of, browing by year/month

Another way to think of chronology can be various places where i spent chunks of time but all of them don’t have content associated with it aside from ephemera artifacts. As such, in this example, the “Back to Vancouver” would be 70%, Oly days 25% and everything else 5%:

  • Surrey Years
  • Utah Years
  • Dead Years
  • Europe Stumble
  • Criss Crossing USA
  • Kootenays and Clayquot
  • Japan Years
  • Guam Years
  • Micronesia Years
  • Oly Days
  • Back to Vancouver
  1. The immediate problem with this scheme is that many works start somewhere and get finished elsewhere.
  2. The other problem is “how many posts are required to subdivide a category?” in other words, how granular do i get with timelines?
  3. Finally, much of my work is designed in a way to be “evergreen” and the fact that i painted something 10 years ago and something else 1 year ago, but they carry a similar theme does a disservice to visitor seeking to discover more on a topic regardless of time of publication.

Breaking it Down

by Project by Medium by Type by Chronology
Pro “project” is natural context
intriguing to visitors

reinforces purpose of sites “to provide stories aka projects”
most projects can be bundled easily

easy of visitor to understand
at first glance, could be categorized rapidly
outline “what you are getting”
sorts in ways which are familiar
easily understood by visitor
Con disparity between post count from various projects
resources needed clearly delineated from content
many projects are mixed media causing confusion over “primary media”
how thin to slice is “Paint & Draw” enough or have to be “Visual Art” to include collages but does that include photography?
many projects fit into several types projects can span years or decades and could fall through cracks
chrono would heavily weight 1998ish forward and possibly pigeonhole content to just newest stuff
Verdict

Tagging

Tags should be applied liberally enough to provide all useful meta data but not so much to create chaos in future tag clouds. At minimum, posts should contain:

topic, resources cited, location if pertinent, project type, conference tags if applicable, series tags, guests or co-conspirators.

For example, previously in the Postcards from Gravelly Beach podcasts, each episode received (though in categories in this case):

  • Location
  • Musician
  • Authors Read
  • Theme
  • catch phrases, and key terms like “spoken word literature” “beat literature” “Russian literature” etc.

As a practical note: each podcast series (Choogle, Postcards, Canucks, Olympics and Ephemeral) will need a specific tag (or category) to generate specific RSS feeds for each (then handed off to Feedburner and then to ITunes…)

Another podcast note: All podcast files are migrating to Archive.org as per Podcast Archiving Project.

Note: My “Writing Projects” Google Drive folder is under reorganization. Once complete, there will be loads more content to post in semantic blog. Then comes “Spiels & Prezos” than “ Art Library” …

Question: I’ve imported a Tumblr blog that was a scrapbook of links. I have more in Delicious with tags and everything. How do i pull those in with their tags?

Post Slugs

WIthin WordPress, when editing a blog post or page, underneath the Title field is a URL which likely includes for the Title of the post, separated by hyphens. In most cases, you should change this URL and include words which, a) describe the content you are posting with “rea words” meaning “it, and, the, that, be…” are not needed. Instead replace with words you can imagine your desired visitors might search for when seeking the content you’ve published.

Digression:

The short version about the snake oil called “search engine optimization” – 3 points about SEO:

  1. 1) Create a keyword rich (but not too loaded), semantically developed (meaning the code is complete with meta data and hierarchies and properly formatted) and spark the site with measurable and duplicatable campaigns. Bonus: create a sitemap.xml and submit to Google Webmaster tools and ensure you have a robots.txt file.
  1. Encourage – with your charm and kindness – Quality inbound links from quality sites, especially when a keyword rich anchor (the wotf that becomes clickable) is used and links to a page on your site which discusses the same topic as the link anchor. This builds up trust and credibility in Google big machines.
  1. Don’t give anyone money to do this tasks – you can get helpers but keep it in house no matter how small or big our project is. Your specific dialogs and insights and contributions are cherished by users who don’t know you yet. This is your passion project, your business whatever, you know if best. Write, share, discuss, contribute and build a culture.

Sum it up: Publish Fresh Content which People Enjoy and Share.

Images

Images should always have meta data, including:

  • ALT tag (describe photo using search words)
  • H & W (encourages smoother loading)
  • Border (usually 2 or built into css)
  • and a caption with photo credit to photographer
  • Note: all images need a photo credit and link back to original

Use images in large formats. In smaller version, the can skew the texts while loading. Also large images are more lovely to view and draw visitors in. Also images (cover art) should be featured on each podcast post.

Notes, Processes and Tasks

Podcasts

– choogle on (renegade documentaries)

– Postcards from gravelly Beach (spoken word literature)

– Ephemeral feasthouse (miscellaneous)

– Canucks outsider (archive)

– Olympic outsider (different process)

– Also many posts and some podcasts about how to podcast #meta

– Audit Podcasts

Upload, or ensure uploaded, to archive.org

– Update link at Daveostory

– Ensure category, tags, album art cover, audio player, show notes, footer with links to other Podcasts

– Update feeds at feed burner

– Ensure accuracy at iTunes

– Create sticky post for top of category with podcast summaries, iTunes link, feed link

– Put new top posts on word press.com versions pointing to new site

– Turn off “indexed by search engine” on WordPress.com sites

– Add new podcast series art to iTunes as needed.

##

– Taxonomy for DaveoStory.com

* Each post lives in one category

* Top level categories are by primary medium

* Secondary categories are per project (if project has more than five pieces or posts).

* Tags include year created, primary medium, secondary medium, if needed, primary topic, secondary topics, series name, my name(s), participants names if needed

* Posts which are just links to resources categorized as “dim sum” and do not appear in regular blog stream.

Whatcha think?