An article about employing content filters has spawned a very interesting discussion over at boxesandarrows.com. A few people have pointed out work that is being done on building navigation and filtering systems based on faceted metadata. This is very timely information for me since my office is working towards integrating our faceted thesaurus on our web sites as a search tool and an alternate organizational structure.
What isn’t mentioned so far in the discussion over at b&a is that the faceted approach requires a very structured set of metadata terms if the filtering is to be effective. A sloppy set of facets that contain redundant terms or leave significant gaps will not be effective. However, creating an effective faceted thesaurus is NOT easy: starting from scratch, it took several months to create, review and finalize the first version of our faceted thesaurus.