7 Tested Metadata Management Best Practices

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Written By Haisam Abdel Malak

About: Haissam is a digital software product manager with 15 years of expertise in developing enterprise content management solutions. His core capabilities encompass digital transformation, document management, records management, business process automation, and collaboration.

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It’s been brought to our attention that organizations are not following the same metadata management best practices and policies, which can cause problems in an organization’s ability to get a clear understanding of how data is being utilized

Although metadata management best practices are not always necessary for smaller organizations, they are important for larger ones that need to manage huge amounts of content while keeping it organized and accessible at all times.

Implementing metadata management best practices will help to make sure all organizations are following the same set of guidelines, which can then reduce frustration, save time and make the data management strategy more effective.

In this article, we will cover what are the top best practices for managing metadata in order to have an effective metadata management program.

Metadata management best practices
Guidelines for managing metadata

What is Metadata Management?

Metadata management is the process of organizing and managing metadata. Metadata is data about data, describing the characteristics of a dataset.

It is critical to organizations as it helps them in identifying the data they have, understanding how it was collected, and how it should be used. It also assists in making sure that all of their content is properly labeled and organized so that they can find what they need quickly and easily.

Top 7 best practices for effective metadata management  

The purpose of effective metadata management is not just to make content searchable but also to categorize it so that it can be found by relevant users who might not know what they are looking for yet.

In order to get the most out of it, you will need to apply the below metadata management best practices and guidelines to make sure that your content is accessible and organized in the most efficient way.

The 7 metadata management best practices are:

1- Create metadata standards for your organization

Metadata standards are rules, guidelines, or formats that help define how metadata should be structured and stored.

These best practices will help businesses master the management of metadata process thus enabling them to get classify documents and retrieve them in fast manner.

Choose one naming convention and stick with it throughout your organization so that descriptions are always consistent with each other across all systems and databases where they appear.

2- Don’t use too many keywords/tags

There are many benefits to using keywords and tags when managing documents. They make it easier for employees to find what they are looking for, improve the classification process, and can even help you make better business decisions. However, there should be a limit to how many keywords and tags you should have on a single document.

Generally speaking, you should be concise and clear when adding tags.

3- Make sure that all metadata is relevant and accurate

To get the most out of your information, there should be a clear strategy to define metadata and how to manage them.

Organizations should make sure that only relevant and accurate list of metadata is available for usage. And this list should stay updated to cater for more types of information and documents whenever needed.

Create metadata templates for each content type or document type, or pre-populate fields with metadata from a database, spreadsheet, or other source that you use regularly.

4- Define who is responsible for them

It is critical that key employees within the document management department manage the creation, modification, and update of the universal list of tags available.

One of the most important best practices is to define clearly who is responsible for managing documents metadata across different departments.

5- Automate Metadata Management

Develop a workflow process to ensure that all new documents are tagged with appropriate metadata before they are published online or shared outside of your organization’s firewall.

The workflow process should be separated into five steps: 1) Create document, 2) Add metadata, 3) Share with stakeholders, 4) Publish online or share outside the organization’s firewall, 5) Update metadata

This complete process could be automated using the right tools and with the power of Artificial Intelligent and Machine learning in order to facilitate the complete lifecycle of tags.

Check out the article below for more info

How automated metadata management improves business insights (techtarget.com)

6- Keep track of changes to metadata

Metadata is a huge part of the user experience, yet it can be difficult to manage. With so many changes occurring, it’s hard to keep track of what has and has not changed.

Keeping track of all the changes that have place during business operations is one of the best practices. For instance, if you decide that the name of a particular tag needs to be updated, you should note both the old and the new name somewhere.

7- Review, refine, and update as needed

Keeping your documents organized and up-to-date is important for better productivity. Reviewing and refining your document metadata with the following tips will help you keep your documents organized and maintain a high level of productivity.

8- Implement quality control checks

Establish procedures to ensure that all existing documents are periodically reviewed and updated as needed with new metadata as they become available (e.g., when the document is revised).

Conducting periodic audits of metadata to ensure data quality across organization will help identifying what tags are missing from documents and request that it be added when available.

What are the different types of metadata?

There are three types of metadata: structural metadata, descriptive metadata, and administrative metadata.

Structural metadata provides information about the structure or formatting of the document. Descriptive metadata provides information about the content of the document like title or author name. Administrative metadata provides information about who created or modified the document.

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