DAM Profile: Heather Hedden

Heather Hedden, @hhedden, is a professional taxonomist… in short, she helps humans organize, classify and tag large groups of things so they can be found. What use is an image system if you can’t find the things in it? This is one of the most basic functions of a Digital Asset Management system.

From one of her profiles:

“I am a taxonomist and author of the book The Accidental Taxonomist (Information Today Inc., 2010, 2016). I have designed and developed taxonomies and metadata strategies for web and internal content management both as an independent consultant and as an employee in different organizations, currently Gale/Cengage Learning. I also teach online workshops in taxonomy creation. I was the founding chair of the mentoring committee of the Taxonomy Division of SLA and was the founder and past manager of the Taxonomies & Controlled Vocabularies SIG of the American Society for Indexing.”

She has written The Accidental Taxonomist. Her book is hard reading, as a highly specialized subject written by someone with a deep understanding of the field, and the kind of nitty-gritty that probably doesn’t appeal to those who say things like “…cut to the chase,” and “…give me a high-level takeaway!” — a group that includes most executives, who like to think they are focusing on the big picture. While that’s a charmingly simple point of view, the gruesome, sausage-making details of how things work determine if it will succeed and last, and Hedden is the kind of person who actually makes things work, and work right in the long run.

She has been working in the field since 1993. Heather has a Company, Hedden Information Management, and a blog, so if you are not still hung up on the fact that there is an American Society for Indexing, both are worth delving into, especially if you are wondering how you are going to be able to classify all your digital assets, and to familiarize yourself some of the work from this remarkable mind, in a field you are going to have to know something about if you are going to build or run an effective Digital Asset Management system.