By Karen Loasby
‘Taxonomist’ is one of the more specialist information management careers. How do you get started in this profession? We asked four taxonomists – Heather Hedden, Helen Lippell, Dorothy Tuma and Stephen D’Arcy- to tell us their career stories.
‘My career started in writing and editing. In 1993 I responded to a job notice in Foster City, California, near where I was living then, for an abstractor at the computer magazine publisher, Ziff Communications, not realizing that at the time that Ziff owned a large periodical indexing division called Information Access Company (later Gale, now a part of Cengage Learning).
It turned out that the abstractors did the indexing as well, so after an intense 6-week employee training on indexing I started out with my first exposure to controlled vocabularies. After indexing trade journals for a couple of years I decided to move upward into the controlled vocabulary management group and soon forgot about abstracting. In addition to maintaining and updating the topical terms and name authorities, special projects included converting the vocabularies, originally based on Library of Congress Subject Headings, into a true thesaurus, mapping our vocabularies to those of third party vendors, and developing new hierarchical taxonomies for specific market search products.