Taxonomy is a Sleeper. The reasons from A to ZZZs that taxonomy hasn’t been a part of your most important projects—but should be!

I’m a taxonomy practitioner at Fishbowl Solutions who has worked with many companies to implement simple to sophisticated document management systems. I’ve noticed over the years the large number of obstacles that have prevented companies from establishing taxonomy frameworks to support effective document management. I won’t review an exhaustive alphabetic list of obstacles, in fact, there are probably far more than 26, but I’ll highlight the top culprits that have turned even the best, most sophisticated companies away from taxonomy.  Don’t fall asleep.  Don’t hit snooze.  Make sure you don’t miss one of the most important parts of a document management software project–taxonomy. Taxonomy is a necessity to deliver effective document management solutions in Oracle WebCenter Content, SharePoint, or any other enterprise content management solution.  You’ll get the most out of the software and your users.

Authority. Who owns taxonomy? Does IT own the taxonomy or a Quality Management Department or all departments own a piece?   Determining decision-makers and authority to sign off on taxonomy frameworks can be difficult.  After all, taxonomies are best when they are enterprise-wide solutions.  Then, users have a familiar context when working with documents for all business purposes.  Don’t let challenges with authority prevent you from establishing taxonomy for your project.  Plan on establishing a governance team to own the taxonomy practice for the current project and in the future.

Bright. Shiny. Object. Taxonomy is not a bright shiny object.  It’s not as fancy as the user interface of the new software.  It doesn’t have the “bells and whistles” that hardware and devices have either.  So, too often document management projects end up focusing on the software and not the necessary taxonomy that makes that software a rock star.  Don’t be blinded.  If you want users to have a great experience, work with documents effectively, and generally adopt your new document management software, you must ensure you define a taxonomy.   Otherwise, your bright shiny object may easily be replaced by the next one as it loses appeal.

Complicated. I often hear from customers that a business taxonomy is complicated.  It can seem insurmountable to sift through existing taxonomy frameworks (or identify new ones), synthesize frameworks, identify new requirements, and really come up with something comprehensive.  Regardless, it’s necessary.  If a taxonomy effort is complicated, think of how complicated managing and searching documents is for your users. Help your users by including taxonomy in your next project to simplify their experience.  It’s the foundation for browsing, searching, contribution, workflows, interface design, and more.

Glamour. Unfortunately, taxonomy is not glamorous.  It’s hard, investigative work.  It entails identifying stakeholders; meeting with stakeholders to really understand documentation, process, and users; generating consensus; and documenting, documenting, documenting.  On top of that, it’s invisible.  Users often don’t even notice taxonomies, especially if they’re good.  But if a taxonomy is non-existent or poorly designed, your users will notice the taxonomy for all the wrong reasons—unintuitive naming, missing categories, illogical hierarchies, and more.  Even though taxonomy is not glamorous, it demands an investment to ensure your project is successful, at launch and thereafter.

Time. It’s common to hear in projects that there is just not enough time.  Customers may say “We need to complete X with the project by date Y.”  Or, “The management team really needs to see something.”  Frequently, the most important milestones for projects are software-related, causing taxonomy to lose focus.  The good thing about taxonomy is that projects can work concurrently on the software build out as they work on taxonomy frameworks.  You can do both and do them well.  Resist the urge to scope out taxonomy in your next project and consider creative ways to plan in taxonomy.

What? Yes, taxonomy has been around for a long time, but still often in projects I see that it’s just something that people are not aware of.  It’s existed for years in the biological and library sciences fields and has had application in IT and many other fields, but often it is just not understood for document management projects.  If you’re not familiar with taxonomy, see my previous blog post “Taxonomy isn’t just for frogs anymore.” and consider hiring a reputable company that can guide you through the practice for your next project.

ZZZs. It’s often perceived as a boring practice with tasks that are in the weeds, but some of us do love it.  Actually, we even find it rewarding to solve the puzzle of the perfect categorization that works for the project and the customer.  If you’re new to taxonomy, you may find that you like it too.  If not, find a resource for your project who has a passion for taxonomy because a good taxonomy is so important to successful document management projects.

smileyeyesIt’s time to have your eyes wide open. If you’re considering a document management software or improvement project, consider how important the underlying taxonomy is for your project and plan taxonomy analysis and development as a required effort.  Your users will appreciate it and your business will see increased software utilization.  Remember the old adage, “Technology cannot solve your business problems?”  It can’t.  But technology + taxonomy can.



This blog is one in a series discussing taxonomy topics.  Watch for the next blog coming soon.


Carrie McCollor is a Business Solutions Architect at Fishbowl Solutions. Fishbowl Solutions was founded in 1999. Their areas of expertise include Oracle WebCenter, PTC’s Product Development System (PDS), and enterprise search solutions using the Google Search Appliance. Check out our site to learn more about what we do.


Collaborate 14 Preview: Oracle WebCenter 11g Upgrades – What You Need to Know

Title: #996 – A Successful Oracle WebCenter Upgrade: What You Need to Know

Date: Monday, April 7th
Time: 9:00 am to 3:00 pm
Location: Level 3, San Polo 3405

Upgrading to the next major release of software can sometimes be a complex and arduous task for organizations. In determining the how and when to perform the upgrade, organizations typically go through an evaluation process that includes new feature/function analysis, new technology and architecture analysis, and the overall time they expect the upgrade to take. This is especially the case for software upgrades that add a new layer of complexity and technology architecture that organizations have to plan and adapt for. Such is the case with Oracle WebCenter, as it added WebLogic Server as the application server from 10g to 11g. This addition, although beneficial in many areas, came with a set of new technologies and complexities that organizations with little to no exposure to had to first understand, perhaps get trained on, procure the necessary hardware to run, and in many cases deploy a separate team to manage. In considering all of these steps to perform the upgrade, organizations have undoubtedly gone through the process of “trade-off” analysis, where they weigh the pros and cons of performing the upgrade immediately versus putting it off until, for example, support for their current version runs out. This “trade-off” analysis describes many WebCenter customers as a great number have still not upgraded to 11g.

If this sounds like your organization, then make plans now to attend this session to receive overviews, examples, and actionable tasks that can be used when planning and performing your WebCenter upgrade.

Fishbowl Solutions is happy to be joined by WebCenter customers Ryan Companies, Cascade, Aleris International and AAM as they share their stories on upgrading to Oracle WebCenter 11g. Join us and hear directly from these customers to learn the tips, tricks and best practices for a successful WebCenter upgrade. Here is the tentative schedule for the presentation:

More information on this presentation, as well as all of Fishbowl’s activities at Collaborate, can be found here.

We hope to see you at Collaborate 14!

The How and Why of Integrating SharePoint with Oracle WebCenter in 13 Minutes

Integrating Microsoft SharePoint with Oracle WebCenter Content is more of a question of why than how. Integrations between the systems have existed for 6+ years now, and each of those have had their own set of integration points and technologies to make the integration work. However, companies need to first understand and agree why they want to integrate the two systems. This starts with identifying the need or business problem that continues to persist without an integration.

Fishbowl Solutions has had an integration for the systems for three years. In that time, we have talked to hundreds of customers regarding their needs and business problems and the disconnect between SharePoint content and getting that content into Oracle WebCenter. Here are the most common needs/business problems we have heard:

  • Lack of Governance over SharePoint use and what happens to orphaned sites and content
  • Difficulty surfacing high-value content created in SharePoint to Oracle-based websites, portals and business applications
  • Inability to selectively determine the SharePoint content items to store in WebCenter – based on version, site location, or business unit requirements

If your company has identified any of the problems above, then it has effectively answered the why question. However, companies should also take a look at their overall information governance strategy and how SharePoint and Oracle WebCenter are a part of that strategy. For organizations that have answered the why, but also have determined that Oracle WebCenter Content is THE repository for enterprise, mission-critical information,  then the how questions can be asked and answered as well.

This 13 minute overview presentation and demo addresses both questions and may be a good place to start in helping you and your organization define its information governance strategy:

For your convenience, here are the time slots for the use case demos of Fishbowl’s connector:

  • Content Publishing – 3:16 to 5:45
  • Project Lifecycle Governance – 5:46 to 7:58
  • Business Specific Storage Requirements – 7:59 to 10:45

Happy Holidays!

Jason Lamon is a product strategist and technology evangelist who writes about a range of topics regarding content management and enterprise portals. He writes to keep the communication going about such topics, uncover new opinions, and to get responses from people who are smarter than him. If you are one of those people, feel free to respond to his tweets and posts.

WebCenter Content: How to persist parameters across links ie &coreContentOnly=1

This is something new I came across thanks to a colleague; that I thought would be good to share.

Recently I had an issue where I needed to hide the standard UCM header and footer, but allow the users to navigate through the links available on the body.
(This  process will also allow you to persist other params)

If you add the parameter coreContentOnly=1 like this –



The header/footer are removed leaving the body content available however on navigating selecting a link or interacting with a form field the coreContentOnly param is removed therefore displaying the header & footer on the next page.

In the past I’ve written components to handle this or done some magic on the web-server; however no more is this needed!
There is a workaround to persist parameters –

By placing /_p/ after the ISAPI/CGI file Name (usually idcplg) – you can apply and persist variables.


This variable mapping can be found by opening the PersistentUrlKeys table.

Here are some of the mappings – 

min =coreContentOnly
cc = ClientControl

So to enable coreContentOnly=1 throughout you can use either approach –




On the first one I did not set -1 as 1 is the default assumed value the dash is used as a seperator for key/value.
If I wanted to add ClientControl or another variable I  can add the mapping in like this –


Important - this mapping must exist in Content Server the SCRIPT_NAME environment variable or it will not be persisted.


Use Cases for Content Subscriptions in Oracle WebCenter

Subscribing content to users, as documented here, has been a feature of the Oracle Content Server for many years. Companies use this feature to send out “notification” emails to other users when specific content items have been revised. These subscriptions are either open, which means they can manually be subscribed to, or enforced, which means an administrator assigns specific users to subscriptions. Overall, this feature is important to ensure that when content items change, the proper people are notified and can take action.

The use cases for subscriptions are typically driven by business groups that have a need to ensure high-value content is visible, up-to-date, and if and when it requires an update or review, it is done so proactively with enough forewarning. A common use case for subscriptions is notifying content owners of public facing content when it is about to become out of date. This could be content that the organization has determined should no longer be on the website, given its original creation date, or if it is to remain needs to be updated. In this case, a subscription to, for example, a white paper that references old product names or features, could be sent to the original author or even a team member letting them know that the white paper is about to reach the date it was originally published – 1 year, 2 years, etc. Getting that notification or alert would then prompt the author or team member to update the content with new product names, etc., or decide to expire (retire) the white paper. With such notifications, companies are able to ensure that the content on their website doesn’t become stagnant, which could not only negatively impact SEO but also customer and prospect perception.

There are numerous other use cases for content subscriptions in Oracle WebCenter Content, and I hope you will be able to join me on Tuesday, August 20th for this webinar Accelerate Content Access and Updates with Subscription Notifier for Oracle WebCenter as I share other examples. During this 30-minute webinar, I will also share how Fishbowl’s Subscription Notifier component for Oracle WebCenter Content expands on the features of the Oracle Content Server’s native subscriptions capabilities to bring even more value to organizations using this functionality. I hope you will be able to join us.