The World’s Oldest Profession – Time for a Revival?
A short digression into a history lesson. Some 1,800 years ago, a man named Aristotle came up with what is now called the ‘world’s oldest profession’, taxonomies. He had the idea of a taxonomy for plants and animals. Others came along throughout the centuries and made their own contributions to the theory and practice of classification and taxonomies. It wasn’t until the early 1700’s that a fellow named Carl Linnaeus claimed he was the ‘Father of the Taxonomy’ by developing his overall framework for classifying all animals and plants. Taxonomies are still alive, perhaps not quite thriving, but alive. Not a new break-through technology, but a proven one. Machine Learning, the current word of the day in the media, is convincing us that it will solve all our search and findability problems. It has been around for 62 years. Runner up in third place is enterprise search, 55 years old and it still doesn’t work. The biggest bang for your buck is still auto-classification and taxonomies.
Metadata, auto-classification, and taxonomies address lifecycle content management including unstructured and semi-structured content across the entire organization, regardless of where the content resides. Effective tools include those that perform metadata generation, auto-classification, and provide the ability to easily develop one or more taxonomies to support the enterprise or functional groups, for example identification and protection of privacy and confidential data. The tools should be flexible and provide an enterprise framework for re-use and re-purposing and provide the metadata to any application that requires the use of it. For example, not only inventorying and classifying content, but also for search, records management, security, migration, text analytics, eDiscovery, litigation support, FOIA, and collaboration, all from the same enterprise metadata repository.
It’s not a magic bullet, but nowadays what is?