What are taxa in taxonomy


Taxonomy is a unified process with which objects are classified and categorized. The name is an artificial word that is formed from the Greek words for order and law. This classification procedure has its origin in the natural sciences. The method for hierarchical classification with branched classes and subclasses of objects is used in various scientific disciplines.

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Scientific importance of taxonomy

With a clear differentiation between the categories used, the taxonomy ensures a better understanding of all the objects examined. The categorization results in a conceptual framework that serves as the basis for information collection and analysis. By classifying elements in a group (taxon) and, if it makes sense, subgroups (taxa), the recognition of certain, otherwise hidden relationships is, in some cases, considerably facilitated and often made possible in the first place. The method is therefore of great importance in science, for example when classifying species. The characteristic of a meaningful and well thought-out classification process is that it is simple and easy to understand.

Taxonomy in information processing

In contrast to the natural sciences, classifications with so-called mono-hierarchical structures are called taxonomy in information processing. This means that each superclass is assigned a class and its subclasses. This results in a clear tree structure, the individual elements of which are provided with the most important information. The deeper the tree structure is branched into subclasses, the more extensive the knowledge, which can be represented with a simple and clear system. The mono-hierarchical structure can be compared with the menu of a software program, in which further classes and possibly further branches (subclasses) are also mapped under a general heading.

Further areas of application are the acquisition of documents, the document content, the acquisition of metadata or the development of a filing system for archiving. In this context, either the classification system or the process of classification is referred to as a taxonomy.