Alumna Joni Savage Applies her Information Architecture Skills as a Senior Taxonomy Manager

Community Profile

When alumna Joni Savage began San José State University School of Information’s Master of Library and Information Science (MLIS) program in 2008, she dreamed of working in a public or academic library. However, when she happened upon a small taxonomy project, she loved the fast-paced work and set off on a path toward a career in information architecture.

Soon after she graduated in spring 2010, Savage acquired search engine optimization (SEO) and taxonomy consulting work in e-commerce and Internet companies with such big-hitters as Microsoft, Eddie Bauer, BlueKai, and Demand Media. She has also worked as an SEO consultant for smaller local businesses and startups.

“There are plenty of opportunities for information professionals in consumer-facing Internet companies,” Savage said. “But there is a lack of awareness among students and employers about how someone with an MLIS degree has the skills these types of employers are looking for, especially employers who aren’t even aware that my degree exists and how it could benefit them.”

Last year, Savage was hired as the senior taxonomy manager for (International Division). “We have 17 different website recipes for 17 different countries,” she said. “I manage the information architecture and SEO for the sites. I also develop taxonomies for internal data and the onsite content. In other words, I structure our content for users, internal staff, and search engines through classification.”

Savage works and lives in Seattle, Washington. Her undergraduate degree was in global sociology, “which came in handy for my current job at an international recipes website!” she said.

Career Tip

“When I talk to employers, I let them know I can help connect their web content and users by helping them understand user intent. Always explain in your cover letter how a company can benefit from the skills of an information professional. When I do, employers become very eager to hire me.”

Best Conference

Search Engine Marketing Conference or SMX (Search Marketing Expo): “Part of what I see in my profession is curating search. We have the ability to shape information, so it’s easy to find. SMX keeps me up to date on issues like Algorithm changes.”

Favorite Blog

Search Engine Land: “It has librarians and other information professionals writing about information architecture and search as it relates to public-facing websites. I refer to this blog every day.”

Influential Classes

INFO 204 Information Organizations and Management: “I learned how to work with people and design programs, which prepared me to design a training program for the food editors I now work with.”

INFO 210 Reference and Information Services: “I do a lot of training and consulting, and I judge user intent for search terms. This class helped me learn how to ask questions that delved into what the users are looking for.”