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Help Me Sort our Drupal Taxonomy Mess

Calling drupal jedi masters! I need some advice. When planning the structure of the NMC web site I had only a fuzzy idea of how to use taxonomies for organizing content, and ended up creating one taxonomy for staff to organize content that is a bit problematic as it serves multiple purposes, and I want to split off a branch and make it available to logged in users.

My sloppy taxonomy includes now:

  • Terms used just to organize special content types. The problem is that some of our staff keep forgetting that and use them as general l content descriptors, when they are more like special tags that trigger content to be part of certain views.
  • Regular terms our staff uses just to categorize any content.
  • Wider terms that I want to make available to all logged in users (the current one is set so only staff roles can access).

I had hoped taxonomy bits could be slid around like menu items, but don’t see that, so I see a process of re-mapping content:

  1. Create two new taxonomies for staff- one for the special content types, and one just for regular content (or maybe one new taxonomy with sub terms — the whole point is to make it clear that one can be used for any content).
  2. Re map content to these new taxonomies (a moderately sized task).
  3. Rebuild the views to use the new taxonomies
  4. Restructure the existing taxonomy and chaning permissions to all logged in users to access the menu when editing content.
  5. Remove the old terms from content (or hoping they will disappear if I just delete the terms??)

I am just fishi8ng around to see if this makes sense, or if there is any way to streamline the moves- I am betting there is some gnarly MySQL that could handle the re-mapping of content….

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Profile Picture for Alan Levine aka CogDog
An early 90s builder of the web and blogging Alan Levine barks at on web storytelling (#ds106 #4life), photography, bending WordPress, and serendipity in the infinite internet river. He thinks it's weird to write about himself in the third person.


  1. Wow big big fun for you!

    For the special tags for views, is the set small enough that you could switch them out of the taxonomy system and make them a controlled set of options in a cck field? In D5 you could then use cck_permissions to limit access to that field to staff — I think access control is built in for D6 (but not sure). That might mean lots of editing older content to use that new field, though. Then build new views to slice and dice around that field. I’ve used this especially when there are nodes suitable for the terms of the vocabulary–instead of a text field I use a node-reference, sometimes with a view to generate the available nodes to reference.


  2. It might take me an hour to parse the terminology… the special content in 2 cases are just basic pages, but they need to be marked for privately aggregating as views, taxonomy seems the best way. Another item crosses content types.

    Sigh, drupal is so dense to me

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