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Overview of Taxonomies

A taxonomy is a vocabulary collection based on SKOS, the W3C standard ontology designed for representing taxonomies, thesauruses, and subject heading schemes.

In EDG, Taxonomies are SKOS-based datasets, whereas other datasets typically do not include SKOS, although they may. When a new taxonomy is created, EDG will automatically include SKOS ontology. SKOS provides description of concepts and their properties e.g., fields like preferred and alternative labels, various notes and relationships.

Edit application for taxonomies is designed to offer SKOS-based features, such as displaying a SKOS model's Concept Hierarchy (where concepts are connected by SKOS "broader" statements) starting with the defined Concept Schemes as hierarchical roots. Every taxonomy must have at least one concept scheme that identifies "top concepts" in a scheme.  A taxonomy can have multiple concept schemes; however, a better practice can be to use a single concept scheme per individual taxonomy. Since taxonomies can, as all asset collections, be included into each other, a taxonomy with multiple concept schemes can be assembled through inclusion of several single concept scheme taxonomies.

Use of the pre-defined SKOS fields can be configured locally for a given taxonomy, globally for the entire EDG or for a subset of taxonomies e.g., all taxonomies associated with some business area. If your local changes are limited to removing (disabling) some of the pre-configured fields, you can do so by going to Reports, selecting View Shapes and Constraints under Problems and Suggestions and unchecking fields you do not want.  You can disable fields for all or a group of taxonomies by taking advantage of the Ontology modeling functionality in EDG. Ontologies are also used to define custom, non-SKOS properties for taxonomy concepts and to define specializations (sub classes of concepts). If you customize SKOS, you need to make sure that the ontology with your customizations is included in the taxonomies these customizations apply to. There is a system-wide setting your EDG administrator can use to ensure that the customized model is included in every new taxonomy. If customization only applies to a subset of taxonomies, creator of a taxonomy can use the Includes dialog to include the desired customized model.

Features supported only for Taxonomies but not available for other models are identified in this guide with the following:

This feature is available only for taxonomies.


The availability of different collection types, including Taxonomies and customer-defined types, is determined by what you have licensed and configured. The TopQuadrant website describes the TopBraid products and the  data governance packages that determine which collection types are available.

Taxonomies Home

Selecting the Taxonomies link in the left-navigation pane of TopBraid EDG (Home) lists all of the Taxonomy collections currently accessible to the user and, it allows authorized users to create new ones.

Create New Taxonomy

The Taxonomies > Create New Taxonomy link opens a form with fields used to define the new Taxonomy. Note that you can also create a Taxonomy by using a Create link in the Governance Areas page. 

Nobody will have a link for creating any asset collection until an administrator configures EDG's persistence technology as documented in Server Administration: Teamwork Platform Parameters: Application data storage . Additionally, each user will not have a create link unless the user or their role has a Create permission for the EDG Repositories project as documented in  EDG Rights Management .

Note: Required and Permitted Includes

Collections often have natural relationships to other collections, e.g., a Reference Dataset references an Ontology class as its main entity. In order to do this, collection with resources to be referenced needs to be included. Some inclusions might be required while others might merely be permitted. For example, Taxonomies always include SKOS ontology and can include other taxonomies. A Reference Dataset is always required to include at least one Ontology as it is needed to define the entities in the dataset. Glossaries with always include pre-defined EDG ontology that describes business glossary terms. Catalogs of Data Assets will always include pre-defined EDG ontology describing data assets and are expected to include definitions of relevant physical Datatypes. These requirements can be further configured.

When creating a collection, any required reference to another type of collection will either be handled automatically or be presented for selection. If any required inclusion is omitted at its creation, then the resulting collection will show red warnings about the missing relationship(s). After creation, included collections can be changed using utilities view: Settings > Includes. When changing collection's includes, selection options are restricted to required and permitted types.

The Create dialog box asks for the Taxonomy's Label (name), its Default namespace and, optionally, a Description. The default namespace will be used to construct URIs (unique identifiers) for the resources in the Taxonomy. EDG will automatically pre-populate the default namespace based on the system-wide, configurable settings. Creator can change it. Recommended practice for all collection types is to use a '/' (slash) at the end of the default namespace. For ontologies, it is typical to use '#' (pound sign). However, '/' can be used as well. 

Creator is automatically granted Manager's permission for the new Taxonomy. When Taxonomy creation starts from the Governance Areas page, new Taxonomy is automatically associated with the selected area. When Taxonomy creation starts from the Taxonomies home page, new Taxonomy is not connected to any governance area. To change this after creation, update in utilities: Settings > Metadata > Edit > subject area

Create New Taxonomy

This creates a new Taxonomy with yourself as the manager.

If using Search the EDG with Lucene indexing (the default option), an option exists on create to add this collection to the index. This is the same as selecting it in Search the EDG configurations with the default property selectors. 

Published Taxonomies

EDG has an optional TopBraid Explorer add-on that lets managers publish a Taxonomy, allowing read-only access to an unlimited number of viewers. To publish a version of a Taxonomy, a manager of the production copy can select Export > Taxonomy as Explorer Published Version (see that section for details).

Listing of Taxonomies by Manage, Edit, or View

This home view lists all Taxonomies that you can access in some way. Which ones you can see and what you can do with them depend on each Taxonomy's permissions settings for your user identity or security role. The listing groups the Taxonomies according to your assigned permissions as either a manager, an editor, or a viewer:

  • Taxonomies that you manage
  • Taxonomies that you can edit
  • Taxonomies that you can view

You will only see relevant categories. For example, if you do not have manager permissions to any Taxonomies, you will only see "Taxonomies that you can edit" and "Taxonomies that you can view" groupings.

This page provides a focused, permission level oriented view on Taxonomies. To see a view of all asset collections, irrespective of their type, that you have a governance role for click on your User Name in the upper right corner of the page.

If a Taxonomy is either missing or it is lacking expected features in your views, you or your security role(s) may lack proper permissions for the Taxonomy.  A manager of the Taxonomy can give you the needed permissions via its utilities' Users settings. For background information, see Asset Collection Permissions: Viewer, Editor, and Manager.

Another possible cause of a missing feature is that it requires administrative setup to become active. See EDG Administration for relevant within-application settings and/or see other EDG Administrator Guide documents for relevant external installation and integration setup

For each collection on the home page some brief metadata is available including information about workflows available to the user. In the image below the user has an action on the workflow that they have permission for. An action means they are in a role that is allowed to transition the workflow to the next state, such as "committed". If the user does not have an action, but they have permission for the workflow they will be presented a read-only view when accessing that workflow. 

Code Status

EDG lets you assign customizable status codes to certain types of data, such as reference data, taxonomy concepts, and, more generally, ontology resources. To facilitate this, the small pre-build status code model included with EDG,, has status values: candidate, approved, and deprecated. You can edit this set of choices in TopBraid Composer. After deploying it to your EDG server and checking it on that vocabulary's Includes list (accessible from a vocabulary's General tab), you can then see the choices available as radio buttons on a data instance's edit form and as a pull-down menu on the search form:


Alternatively, EDG can be configured to automatically include the status code model on the creation of certain collections.

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