Content Structure

What if, in the demo site's case, we have the term Trapping available to tag content (blogposts in this case) with, but someone is really talking about something other than hunting entirely and there happens to be some sort of content overlap? An example scenario might be as follows:

• Several specialists are contracted to maintain blogs about the African continent.

• They tag their content using a new Africa vocabulary, which contains terms like nature, gazelle, predators, lakes, rivers, mountains, hunting, weather, and tourism.

• You wish to be able to allow material that is created from the Africa blogs to be cross-referenced by hunting-related topics in the Hunting specialists' blogs.

In order to achieve this it is necessary to create a new vocabulary called Africa. Attach this vocabulary to the blog content type, and then create several descriptors, ensuring that one of them is entitled Hunting as follows:

Africa list add term

Name Operations

Rivers edit

Hunting edit

Tourism edit

Weather edit

Advanced Content

Now when users attempt to post content, they are presented with not one but two options to classify their content, and assuming you have used the Weight option correctly, you can apply a kind of hierarchy to your tags. For example, a blog post on poaching by one of the Africa bloggers might look like this:

Submit blog entry

(Poaching to be hunted down!



I have received uord from a member of the latest, round of talks! It seems the government will divert funds to help improve the efficacy of the trans-frontier game parks...

Good news indeed! I am personally grateful to all those people who dedicated their time to help us with this project.

Once this is posted to the site, it is then possible to view both categories on the content page instead of just one. In other words, the node has been tagged with several descriptors in what is known as faceted tagging. Basically, faceted tagging uses a bottom up system of classification, where facets or properties of the content are described by the terms. In this way a very intuitive method of classifying content can be created without users needing to understand the top-down path of a content hierarchy in order to find the content they are after. Ironically, in this case, the specific method of tagging used here helps to elucidate the hierarchy of terms too.

Taking a look at this posting on the site confirms that users can now go directly to both the Hunting and Poaching category pages by clicking on the links provided in the posting.

There is something slightly more subtle in all of this though. Can you see it? Drupal, by default, and at the time of writing, doesn't provide us with a breadcrumb trail of categories so that we can view any category further up the hierarchy simply by viewing its content type. However, structuring your hierarchy using this method does exactly this. Take a look at the poaching post on the page we have just submitted:

Poaching to be hunted down!

view edit

Hunting | Poaching

I have received word from a member of the latest round of talks! It seems the government will divert funds to help Improve the efficacy of the trans-frontier game parks...

We know already from the Hunting vocabulary that it is the parent of Poaching. Yet, using only the single vocabulary, there is no way that a user could tell which category the Poaching term fell under. Doing things this way allows users to effectively navigate up a level by visiting Hunting, or staying at the same level by visiting Poaching. But there's a problem with this too.

What happens if one of the Hunting bloggers simply wants to make an entry and tag it with the Canned term from the Hunting vocabulary without having to first specify that this content also belongs to the Africa vocabulary? The answer lies once again in editing the vocabulary page, which contains a Required checkbox right at the bottom. If this option is enabled, then posters must select at least one tag, but if we leave it unselected, then posters can choose whether to include a term from that vocabulary.

Talking of new options, there are three others present here that we should take a look at quickly. Related terms does nothing on a standard Drupal site at the time of writing, although you might wish to play around with the Glossary module, which makes use of this feature. A related term can be considered to be a kind of cross-reference at the vocabulary level—as opposed to a synonym, which works at the term level. Free tagging is an interesting option because it allows posters to decide on their own terms for their content. Enabling this option for the Hunting vocabulary, for example, means posters are given the following category options when creating a blog entry:

T Categories






This tag associates your content with the general topic of Africa.

Hunting: *


iraDdina ^H

"Company, Inc."J.

Notice that there is a red asterisk superscript above the Hunting category. This is because despite the fact that we are using free tagging, the Required option on the edit vocabulary page is still enabled—so something has to be entered here. Secondly, there is a drop-down list of all the tags available (starting with whatever letter you type). This means that giving people free reign to type in their own tags is not as random as it may at first seem, because they can still be guided as to what terms are already available using this drop-down list. In this way, Drupal can encourage a more coherent body of descriptors.

Free tagging has some pros in that it is far more flexible to allow free tagging because people can really tag their content exactly as they please—making the tagging system fit the content far more snugly. The problem is, however, that your vocabulary may well become unwieldy, because similar content could be tagged with entirely different descriptors, making it hard for users to find

Advanced Content what they are looking for. If you are to allow this option, then you should ensure that the people who are using it are made aware of the fact that they should tag their content sensibly and in as uniform a manner as possible.

At any rate, if we were to continue with our posting on hunting, we might end up with something like this:

In this case, we have entered four descriptors for this blog entry; so when someone visits the site, they are presented with all four tags associated with this post, like so:


Beavers & Bears?

bear traps | clamps | gin-traps | Trapping

I thought I would share some thoughts on the various trapping methods used in the Americas,..

» david mercer's blog | add new comment

You should make note of the fact that it is not possible to create a hierarchy of terms using the free tagging system because every new tag is on the same level as all the other tags. So what you end up with is really a thesaurus instead of a taxonomy.

This can be very useful for someone who is using the content as reference material because if, for example, they clicked on the descriptor name of a post, which was only tagged with clamps, the page that displays all the posts associated with that tag would no doubt display the post we have just added. Because of this, the person would be able to see that Trapping, bear traps, and gin-traps are all related topics, and would be able to research related material by hopping around from post to post.

The final option available to us on the edit vocabulary page is Multiple select. This relates to free tagging in that if you have free tagging enabled, it is possible to enter more than one descriptor for each post—you simply separate each descriptor with a comma. However, if you want to allow for a more thesaurus-like structure of descriptors for your content, without enabling free tagging, you would simply enable Multiple select, and this would allow users to tag their posts with as many descriptors as are made available by the creator of the vocabulary. Effectively, this is a middle ground in terms of allowing some flexibility in the tagging while retaining control over how content is tagged.

With Multiple select enabled, and Free tagging disabled, you would then select the terms you would like to tag a post with in the same way as you selected multiple parents in the hierarchy section earlier:

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