Some attributes on your data records may benefit from being organized in a hierarchy.
A managed attribute allows you to define the hierarchy of standard attributes.
Managed attributes are often used to support hierarchical navigation. In other words, associating a managed attribute with a standard attribute enables hierarchical navigation of records based on the standard attribute values.
When you create a managed attribute whose purpose is to represent a hierarchy, you load a taxonomy definition that enumerates a hierarchy where each standard attribute value (in a key value pair for the standard attribute) is a node in the hierarchy (called a managed attribute value, or mval).
The managed attribute values are organized in an hierarchy — they have information about themselves via a unique spec that identifies them in the Endeca Server index, and their parent managed attribute value.