On Taxonomy and Rocket Science

In preparation for the upcoming Createasphere Digital Asset Management Conference NYC, I asked Sarah Berndt, NASA Johnson Space Center Taxonomist & DB Consulting Group, Inc., to share more about her role at NASA and why taxonomy is so important.


How did you get into the taxonomy space?
My training and education are in the academic library so knowledge management, and the semantic system of taxonomy, ontology, and metadata come as a second nature to me. It is really fun to be part of the taxonomy project at NASA Johnson Space Center (JSC) and experience the difference it is making for our users.

Why is taxonomy so critical (to Digital Asset Management)?
Taxonomy is fundamental to each stage of Digital Asset Management as it provides a centralized organizational foundation multiple schemas can map to. Ultimately, this allows content owners the ability to identify information in a way that is meaningful to them, but findable by others.

What do see as the biggest challenge(s) with taxonomy in a large organization?
It can be daunting to consider the variety of domains, and the level of depth the taxonomy needs to meet user expectations. Advanced planning and integral implementation are both beneficial in ensuring the success of the project.

As a thought leader and contributor to the community, what trends are you seeing that will have positive impacts on taxonomies as they relate to DAM Systems and related technologies?
The merit of taxonomy, ontology, and semantics are more readily accepted in industry as on whole. I’ve noticed a dramatic shift as organizations acknowledge the solution to their DAM needs is no single traditional system, but a contextual layering of information.

How do you use Digital Asset Management in your personal life?
Regardless of the intention, it is too easy to lose your personal digital assets between multiple email accounts, applications and devices. I’m not comfortable depending on an external source for personal data. Who wants to rely on Flickr to retain pictures of their children for perpetuity? I subscribe to the Keep it Simple (but not stupid) design principle and streamline as much as possible.

What would you like the Createasphere community to know about what you are working on?
In summary, being the JSC Taxonomist is a fun job! The learning curve never ends when your subject domains range from chemistry, curation, exploration, history, medicine, and yes… rocket science!

Sarah is going to be speaking on “Social Semantics for an Effective Enterprise” at the upcoming DAM event where she will share more about her projects at NASA and how taxonomy is advancing .

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