Metadata and effective metadata management have gotten a lot of coverage in recent years. Most people have heard of the term but they don’t know what it is, how it functions, or why it is so important in modern industry.
Metadata is, without a doubt, the most critical term in information management. However, it is perhaps the most overlooked concept, and as a result, it is not granted the value it deserves.
Metadata is as valuable as data, and experts in information management recognize its ability to assist users in finding, organizing, and using information.
Findability refers to how simple it is to locate a document when you need it. How much does it cost to locate a certain resource? which medium workers can access information? Employees will be able to browse and view their data more easily with the aid of metadata.
What is Metadata?
Metadata is described as “data that contains information about other data”. To put it another way, it is “information about data”. It contains information needed to understand and effectively use the data. However, its significance becomes apparent as we consider its functional use.
Knowledge workers spend 50% of their time looking for information; it is our responsibility as content managers professionals to improve their experience by providing quick access to resources they need whenever they are.
Classification and implementation of metadata play a crucial role in that manner. Anyone with the right to add content to any platform should at the very least have a clear understanding of these concepts.
When adding a new document to a content management system, the user must primarily define two key elements.
- Document type: What kind of document is it? Is it an invoice, a contract, a drawing, or anything else?
- Document metadata (some systems refer to them as properties or tags): information from or relevant to this particular document.
As a business metadata example, consider an invoice: the most relevant info to provide are the invoice number, customer, amount, and date. If these values are set correctly, customers will be able to find invoices in a matter of seconds, increasing efficiency and overall company operations.
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Why Is It Important?
People are feeling frustrated by the amount of content available. They simply need to locate the required document without any difficulty or complication.
So where does significance come from? The source of importance is not a mystery, but it is motivated by something that may seem mysterious: metadata.
When users complain that their search does not yield relevant results or that they are unsure where to look for business-critical information, it is usually due to a metadata issue.
Traditionally, we learned to organize content using folders and tree structures.
Consider how difficult and time-consuming it will be to sift through various directories in order to find the material you’re searching for.
Can you recall where you saved the document six months ago? This method, without a doubt, is not efficient.
Here’s where metadata comes in handy. Content creators would be able to classify information, make it findable and searchable, conveniently drive workflows, and automate their retention plan by correctly using and applying the principle of tags on a document.
We should classify key insights so that we can figure out what the content is all about.
Good Quality Metadata Benefits
Tagging documents in your document management system or enterprise content management system will benefit companies in the following ways:
- Dynamic Document Classification: Classification is the process of automatically identifying the type of information according to its content (invoice, letter, drawing, etc.). Using tags to label documents, you can create dynamic views for each user, and these views can be changed by simply adjusting the value of a specific tag on a specific document.
- Faster Searching: One of the most important aspects of information management is the ability to easily and quickly allocate documents. Having high-quality properties ensures that employees can get accurate search results depending on the appropriate criteria.
- Driving Workflows: Most documents have a process to fulfill, such as an approval cycle, collaboration, signature, and so on. We may set up workflows to start when a document with special metadata is generated.
- Automate Retention Policies: Record retention is critical but mostly overlooked. Tagging documents will assist us in automatically disposing or archiving them depending on their preservation policies.
Automated vs. Manual Tagging
Top document management system and enterprise content management system vendors are automating the process of document tagging as a result of technological advancements and the use of emerging cognitive technologies such as AI (Artificial Intelligence) and ML (Machine Learning).
When a document is created, the system analyzes the content and recommends appropriate metadata to end-users. In practice, this would speed up the process of applying properties to documents while also making it less error-prone.
Manual metadata assignment will slow down and introduce errors if the company deals with a large volume of content.
How To Get The Most Out Of Metadata?
Now that you understand what metadata is and why it is significant, you must learn how to maximize its effectiveness. If you don’t, your metadata will become virtually useless.
- Get Employees Buy-in: Employees must appreciate the business importance of document tagging. Take the time to explain the true value of this principle and how it can affect their productivity in the long run.
- Create Metadata Management Strategy: Determine and monitor what information is important to your company and what isn’t. It’s possible to overuse metadata and generate a long list of tags, but this defeats the intent. Pay attention to the relevant details.
- Create Good Quality Metadata Definitions: Every company is unique. Each must tailor their metadata model to their particular business requirements. You must ensure that companies have the proper concepts and types in place to solve complex business issues.