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April 29, 2010 by Steve

There is an ongoing and vigorous discussion at the about the term Taxonomy. People focused on making Drupal more understandable to first time users often argue that the word "taxonomy" is too formal and should be changed to something more common like "categories". People who are strict about definitions point out that the word "categories" does not mean exactly the same thing as "taxonomy", and that taxonomy is correct. Don't expect the name to change any time soon.

Regardless of formality, I'm using the Content Management > Taxonomy menu to set up my categories for articles I post on the site. The name for a group of terms is "Vocabulary". Right now we have none. I'll go to the Add Vocabulary tab to get started.

I want a few very broad categories to keep things ordered at a high level. I'll fill out the form with the following information:

  • Vocabulary name: Sections
  • Description: Top level categories for content.
  • Help text: (left blank)
  • Content Types: Page, Story
  • Settings:
    • Tags: off
    • Multiple select: off
    • Required: on
    • Weight: -10

Save that, and it will take you to the list page, which now shows your new vocabulary. Click on "add terms" to put some subcategories in. All you need is a title and description for each. I started with Lab Notebook, which is what I'll put my software development notes in, and Tutorials, for these kinds of articles. I then added a third one, under Tutorials, called Build This Site. I'll add more later as needed.

I also want to be able to tag my stories with key words that might help lead people to related content. I went back to Content Management > Taxonomy > Add Vocabulary and added "Topics". This would be the vocabulary to hold my tags. It is set up like this:

  • Vocabulary name: Topics
  • Description: (left blank)
  • Help text: Enter a comma separated list of words.
  • Content Types: Page, Story
  • Settings:
    • Tags: on
    • Multiple select: on
    • Required: off
    • Weight: 0

Save this out. You do not need to add any terms right now, because you'll be able to add them in each story you post. (That's what checking the "Tags" setting allows.)

Note the weights of the two vocabularies are set differently. In Drupal, a lighter weight (meaning a lower number), will cause an item to appear higher in a list or happen first in a sequence. (The heavy things sink to the bottom, the lighter things float up to the top.) By setting the "Sections" to be as light as possible, it means that the Sections term will be used first for categorizing the content, which will be useful later on.


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