Spotlight on… categorising and tagging the MAP Tookit

In November 2014, we undertook a project to categorise and tag all the posts on the MAP Toolkit. This article explains why and how we did this.

Categories and tags in WordPress

The MAP Toolkit is hosted on WordPress.com, and one of the features of WordPress is the ability to use categories and tags on posts and pages.

Categories are generally broader in scope, and could be used to define the type of post, or a broad subject area. Generally, you’d use a small number of categories, perhaps one or two.

Tags can be more specific, and there is no limit to how many can be used to describe a post. Categories can be hierarchical, whereas tags cannot. Categories are like the chapter headings of a book, while tags are more like the index.

Why does this matter?

Categories and tags are entirely optional, but in the same way that subject headings can aid retrieval of articles from bibliographic databases, categories and tags can help locate information on a website.

There are also other things categories and tags can do in WordPress:

  • RSS feeds can be created from any category or tag. For example https://maptoolkit.wordpress.com/category/drivers/feed/ provides an RSS feed of items in the category ‘drivers’ on the MAP Toolkit
  • Google indexes category and tag archive pages (lists of posts), and this can increase hits to a site from search engines. Search engines can also use the categories and tags as internal links when crawling a site to ensure no pages are left out.
  • You can link to lists of posts under a category or tag, so you could refer readers to previous posts on the same topic (e.g. ‘see our previous posts on education and training’).
  • Tags can be displayed as a ‘tag cloud’, with more popular tags given greater prominence (we’ve added a tag cloud to the MAP Toolkit).

How did we do this on the MAP Toolkit?

As the MAP Toolkit had moved from a wiki to a WordPress site, it lacked any tags and had limited categorisation. I was tasked with looking at the content, applying consistent categories, and adding tags from scratch. It wasn’t very time-consuming to do, and once done it is easy for new posts to be categorised and tagged by the post author (in many cases using the list of popular tags that can be displayed when editing a post).

Jason Curtis
Shrewsbury and Telford Health Libraries

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