Metadata and Tunnel Vision

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Metadata and Tunnel Vision

I am continually surprised by how many organizations know so little about the importance of metadata, and the tunnel vision that accompanies the subject.

Based on Concept Searching’s historical references, surveys, and industry knowledge, most organizations are only at the beginning of their metadata maturity model. Frequently, individuals in both business and IT roles do not understand metadata or the impact, both positive and negative, it can have on business processes and on any application that requires its use.

The ability to capture concept-based metadata and retrieve relevant search results from within an organization from diverse repositories is the real currency of interoperability. Providing syntactic as well as automatically generated metadata enables the meaning of content to be represented and shared in an unambiguous and transparent way.

Most organizations still use some form of manual tagging, either in a free-form way or using drop-down lists. Statistics show that end users select the first option in a list the majority of the time.

Some organizations have ventured into using metadata to improve search and content management. What they haven’t realized is, despite their best efforts to achieve improvements in search and enterprise content or lifecycle management, the quality of the metadata is typically inaccurate, subjective, or non-existent, rendering it only marginally useful, if at all.

The implications of inaccurate and subjective metadata go far beyond search, impacting records management, eDiscovery, migration, data security, and collaboration. Organizations need to make an effort to understand the monetary and business benefits of metadata utilization. In other words, walk out of the tunnel. How do you manage your metadata?

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