Job Profile: Taxonomy Lead

A person working in taxonomy designs, creates, edits, and/or maintains taxonomies, which are specific types of structured terms in a simple hierarchy or term sets used for organizing, indexing and retrieving content. The role of taxonomist existed prior to the digital information age but it has evolved and the need for this position has grown immensely.

Today, most companies or organizations have so much digital content that they need taxonomies for their intranets and enterprise content management systems. Retailers need product taxonomies for their e-commerce offerings. Government agencies and NGOs need taxonomies to manage the flood of documents available to the public on their websites. Print publishers are digitizing their content and multimedia collections are growing everywhere. Search engines, while providing satisfactory results on the web, cannot get the precise results desired without the additional support of a taxonomy.


Taxonomy requires a solid understanding of metadata, subject classification, description cataloging, user experience, and knowledge organization. Although technical knowledge is not needed to develop taxonomies, it is quite helpful and can lead to more career opportunities.


A Taxonomy Lead can work for varied employers: government, international agencies, publishers, information providers, retailers’ search engines, consulting firms, software vendors, and large corporations in any industry. 


Median salary: $105,000*


A graduate degree in information management or library and information science is preferred by many employers and will allow candidates to secure higher starting salaries. 

Related Titles

Taxonomist, Taxonomy Analyst, Taxonomy Specialist, Taxonomy and Metadata Manager, Taxonomy Editor, Product Catalog and Taxonomy, Taxonomy and Hierarchy Analyst, Taxonomy Project Manager

*Figures current as of Dec 2014 in Seattle from