Open Source 
Collaborative Content Searching and Indexing 

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What is Open Taxonomy?
Open Taxonomy is a web based collaborative web directory system. It allows users to navigate a tag based taxonomy that has been created by them. Users can share their categories, or tags with others, then vote on and rank each other's tags. Users can search the indexed web content for keywords in specified sub-trees of the taxonomy, which greatly increases the content's findability.
The system is built using Ruby on Rails to provide a rich application experience to the user in a web browser.
Ever spent more than an hour searching for something on the web?
It's too hard to find what you're looking for, either on the web, or in an enterprise environment.
Keyword searching is ambiguous. Search for "soap", and you'll get results about detergents, daytime TV, and an internet protocol. Social Networking sites like and allow users to share tags they have placed on concepts, and link to them. This helps, but the tags form a flat vocabulary. There's no structure to them. It's still difficult to locate things.
Web directories organize everything into categories, and sub-categories, forming a taxonomy of all information. They are relatively difficult to change, and as new content is created and indexed, it is a constant battle for a static taxonomy to keep from getting stale.  
Open Taxonomy allows end users to search the taxonomy for a concept, and if they can't find it, they can fix the taxonomy themselves, so that the next person can drill down directly to it. They do this by tagging the concepts, and tagging the tags with a parent category, eventually merging the tag structure into the "official" taxonomy.
Current Status:
Project Kick Off:
The project has begun. A design is in progress. We're open to anyone wanting to volunteer some time to make the world an easier place to find.  
Ken Cooley gave a talk on the Open Taxonomy project at the June 10 2006 BarCampHouston unconference.  
Project's Source Forge page
Check out the Open Taxonomy Project's Source Forge page at
Open Taxonomy on Logo © Ken Cooley 2006 Support This Project