A taxonomy is a general term for classification scheme. The purpose of

a taxonomy is to group like things together into categories, usually

based on a set of common, category-specific characteristics, or


In the context of master data management, a taxonomy is what makes it

possible to quickly locate a few specific records – or categories – in a

database of thousands, tens of thousands, or even millions of records.

A taxonomy is usually hierarchical, meaning that some categories are

subcategories of other categories. (In the MDM system, taxonomy

tables are always hierarchical.) Most people are familiar, for example,

with at least part of the hierarchical taxonomy used to classify animals,

such as vertebrates  mammals  primates  chimpanzees, and so

on. Another example that you might experience in your daily life is

groceries  beverages  carbonated  decaffeinated. Each level of

the hierarchy gets narrower in terms of what it includes.

MDM uses a hierarchical taxonomy of categories to structure master

data in an MDM repository. A hierarchical taxonomy is typically

represented as a “tree,” as shown in Figure 2.


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