Faceted classification

Discussion articles

  • All about facets and controlled vocabularies
    Information architects are fascinated with faceted classification and its application to information architecture problems. However, facets remain difficult to understand and there are few options for learning about them. This is the first in a series of articles that aims to correct this situation. We intend to explain both facets and the more general concept of controlled vocabularies. We want to make the subject accessible to those who don’t have advanced degrees in library and information science. Furthermore, we want to show how these concepts can be applied to solve information architecture problems for the web and other digital information environments.

  • A primer of faceted navigation and guided navigation
    What is faceted navigation? It’s a way to browse information, or to refine long lists of search results, along multiple dimensions, aka facets. These are orthogonal lenses through which to view the world. For example, I might search for an expert by facets like name, project, company, or date—and more likely, by some combination of those facets, selected in any sequence.

  • Best practices for designing faceted search filters
    "By following the attribute-based filtering design best practices this article describes, you can ensure your customers can take care of business without having to spend time struggling with your search user interface."
    (Greg Nudelman - UX Matters)

  • Extended faceted taxonomies for web catalogues
    Faceted taxonomies have a major drawback that prevents their deployment and use for real and large-scale applications like the Web. This drawback comes from the fact that it is possible to form a large number of invalid compound terms, that is, combinations of terms that do not apply to any object of the underlying domain.

  • Faceted approach to web design
    Some problems are best solved by a hierarchical approach to navigation. In fact, without the power of database-driven technology, facets are difficult to implement as web site navigation. But in many cases, especially as web-publishing systems get more sophisticated and data-driven, facets are an invaluable tool.

  • Faceted browse
    A collection of links to resources on faceted browsing.

  • Faceted classification
    The result of a student collaborative project, this site provides a history of faceted classification, its advantages and disadvantages, it use in indexing, and its applicability to the online environment.

  • Faceted classification
    A definition, examples and list of the benefits of faceted classification.

  • Faceted classification of information
    Given the significant difficulties in categorising books, papers, and articles using traditional library classification techniques, it would seem next to impossible for humans to classify the small chunks of rapidly changing information that characterise information-intensive business environments. But it’s not. Library and information science professionals have already provided the foundations of an alternative to traditional classification techniques: faceted classification.

  • How to make a faceted classification and put it on the web
    This paper provides procedures and advice on all the steps involved in making a faceted classification and putting it on the web. Web people will benefit by having a rigorous seven-step process to follow for creating faceted classifications, and librarians will benefit by understanding how to store such a classification on a computer and make it available on the web.

  • Putting facets on the web: an annotated bibliography
    This is a classified, annotated bibliography about how to design faceted classification systems and make them usable on the web. There are five sections: Recommended, Background, Not Relevant, Example Web Sites, and Mailing Lists. Background material is either introductory, advanced, or of peripheral interest, and can be read after the Recommended resources if the reader wants to know more. The Not Relevant category contains articles that may appear in bibliographies but are not relevant for my purposes.

  • Ranganathan's colon classification: an annotated bibliography
    A collaborative student project that produced a short annotated bibliography of Ranganathan's work on faceted classification.

  • Use of faceted classification
    Unlike a simple hierarchical scheme, faceted classification gives the users the ability to find items based on more than one dimension. For example, some users shopping for jewelry may be most interested in browsing by particular type of jewelry (earrings, necklaces), while others are more interested in browsing by a particular material (gold, silver). "Material" and "type" are examples of facets; earrings, necklaces, gold, silver are examples of facet values.

  • What are the differences between a vocabulary, a taxonomy, a thesaurus, an ontology, and a meta-model?
    Many organisations and companies are struggling with these terms and the ideas behind them; this set of definitions will help to clarify.

Research articles

  • A simplified model for facet analysis
    The purpose of this study is to propose a simplified model for facet analysis that incorporates the principles of facet analysis proposed by both Ranganathan and the Classification Research Group. The purpose of this simplified model is to act primarily as a teaching tool to introduce LIS students to a consolidated, and hopefully easy-to-read, classification model that will enable them to understand how faceted classification systems are designed and how they work.

  • Faceted access: a review of the literature
    The purpose of this 1995 paper is to define what is meant by facet analysis, and to review briefly the history of facet analysis within the context of other types of subject analysis in libraries and within the context of information retrieval research.

  • Study: facets on the web
    This is the project homepage for the preliminary study: Adventures in faceted classification: A brave new world or a world of confusion? presented July, 2004 at ISKO in London.


  • Taxomita
    Taxomita is a tool for creating faceted taxonomies using PHP and MySQL. Version 1 is in beta testing.

  • Facetmap
    FacetMap was constructed initially to demonstrate the concept of traversing multiple taxonomies simultaneously, and now also to offer a data model and programming interface so that web designers can incorporate the process into their own sites. A solution so simple that we can take any metadata you've got, and turn it into a browsing system.