Metadata Truth – Fact or Fiction?
A philosophical question, what is ‘metadata truth’? I saw that term and it has stuck in my head. There is definitely a difference between low quality and high quality metadata, but is metadata truth achievable so it provides a consistent understanding across applications that use metadata to define the context and knowledge of the asset? Can metadata be accurate if used across multiple applications? Can one go overboard on metadata to document every possible use scenario?
From an information lifecycle management perspective, metadata is a key component in the strategy and has been elevated in importance due to compliance, regulatory requirements, and privacy issues. Without metadata truth, management of content from inception to disposition is impossible. Much of the creation of metadata always falls on the end user. I think we all know that some will explicitly follow organizational policies, others will consistently not follow organizational policies, and then the few who are ruled by how they feel at that moment and may or may not follow policies. Time and again we have seen the unrealistic expectation that users follow these procedures to determine where a document should be stored, how long it should be preserved, who has access to the document and how it can be used and as a result it has often failed. Obviously the implication in this scenario is that metadata truth can’t be achieved.
The lack of metadata truth is the inability to find, use and protect content assets. In some industries this has now become a boardroom priority that carries financial repercussions and impacts business agility. Is it possible to provide a common understanding of data that can be used at all levels of the organization, both by business and technical, that defines content at a high and detailed level? Is it necessary?
How does one ensure metadata truth?