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Principal Taxonomist

Burbank, California, United States

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Job ID 795715BR Location Burbank, California, United States Business Disney Media & Entertainment Distribution Date posted May. 25, 2021

Job Summary:

The Principal Taxonomist is a member of the leadership team of the DMED Metadata Platforms team. A core function of the Metadata Platforms team is in deploying the metadata that enhances the discoverability and analysis of creative works for business units across The Walt Disney Company. Central to its work are a set of taxonomies that power the classification of content at the work, item, and storyline level.

As Principal Taxonomist, this person will assume chief responsibility for the development of new taxonomies and the maintenance of existing ones. In that capacity, they will work closely with other members of the leadership team to strategize how best to satisfy client needs and identify current gaps in the taxonomies as configured. The Principal Taxonomist will serve as the taxonomy subject matter expert in representing DMED Metadata Platforms in meetings with clients and other company representatives. As governor of the taxonomies, this person will be chiefly responsible for fielding questions about and adjudicating the correct application of vocabularies by the members of the Metadata Platforms team charged with classification of content, as well as any other teams across the company charged with authoring metadata from our taxonomies. The Principal Taxonomist will manage a team of staff and contract librarians that are charged with classification, title setup and unblocking metadata authoring within and outside the Metadata Platforms team.


  • Work with clients to identify needs and clarify requirements for taxonomies
  • Build, manage, and maintain taxonomies
  • Work closely with vendors in developing, implementing, and managing the auto classification of content for different business units
  • Manage team of librarians

Basic Qualifications:

  • Demonstrated expertise in the construction of monolingual taxonomies
  • Minimum of 10 years’ experience as a working librarian, preferably in a special library
  • Minimum of 5 years’ experience in working in relational databases such as DAMs, CMSs, MAMs, and taxonomy management systems. Prior experience with Smartlogic Semaphore a plus
  • Minimum of 2 years working in a large organization with responsibilities for leading others or directly managing others
  • Previous work experience in a media company
  • Understanding of media production workflows, digital video product workflows, and consumer facing digital video product features
  • Excellent presentation skills and ability to clearly communicate goals, status and issues upwards and across organization.
  • Demonstrated ability to simultaneously manage and prioritize multiple projects
  • Self-starter who can work autonomously, working to guide personnel and development to avoid issues before they affect team morale or delivery.
  • Interest and competency with regard to information science, graph data/ontologies, machine learning and artificial intelligence and human / computer interaction
  • Enthusiasm and interest in Disney’s franchises and the content that Disney can deliver via digital applications.

Required Education

  • MLS/MLIS from ALA-accredited school, or equivalent experience

About Disney Media & Entertainment Distribution:

Comprised of the Company’s international business units and various direct-to-consumer streaming services, Disney Media & Entertainment Distribution (DMED) aligns technology, media distribution and advertising sales into a single business segment to create and deliver personalized entertainment experiences to consumers around the world.

About The Walt Disney Company:

The Walt Disney Company, together with its subsidiaries and affiliates, is a leading diversified international family entertainment and media enterprise with the following business segments: media networks, parks and resorts, studio entertainment, consumer products and interactive media. From humble beginnings as a cartoon studio in the 1920s to its preeminent name in the entertainment industry today, Disney proudly continues its legacy of creating world-class stories and experiences for every member of the family. Disney’s stories, characters and experiences reach consumers and guests from every corner of the globe. With operations in more than 40 countries, our employees and cast members work together to create entertainment experiences that are both universally and locally cherished.

This position is with Disney Streaming Technology LLC, which is part of a business segment we call Disney Media & Entertainment Distribution.

Disney Streaming Technology LLC is an equal opportunity employer. Applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability, or protected veteran status or any other basis prohibited by federal, state or local law. Disney fosters a business culture where ideas and decisions from all people help us grow, innovate, create the best stories and be relevant in a rapidly changing world.

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