Taxonomy is the practice of classifying things. In Drupal, the Taxonomy module allows you to classify your website content, and it can be an important part of your information architecture.
The first step in establishing a taxonomy is creating a new vocabulary. Next you provide the terms that fall within that vocabulary. The arrangement can be "flat," as in a tagging system, or hierarchical, with parents and children.
Here's how you might create a taxonomy for a site arranged by musical genre:
- Vocabulary = Music
- Term = Classical
- Sub-term = Concertos
- Sub-term = Sonatas
- Sub-term = Symphonies
- Term = Jazz
- Sub-term = Swing
- Sub-term = Fusion
Sometimes you will want to create a "controlled vocabulary," where content authors can assign terms that have been predetermined. If so, you will need to add those terms to your vocabulary in advance.
An alternative model for organizing information is the use of "tags." User-defined tags can be added to Drupal content on the fly. In Drupal 7, a ready-to-use "Tags" vocabulary is included by default, so users can immediately begin adding tags to their content.