Monday, August 20, 2012

Use of metadata is driving the growth in effectiveness of the web as a tool for knowledge workers. In my role as cloud architect, I've been charged with re-designing enterprise content management systems. Designing a reasonable hierarchical classification structure -- a taxonomy -- for an organization’s intellectual capital (see what I did there?) is central in the evolution of information systems. Without the implementation of a comprehensive taxonomy, effort will undoubtedly be wasted searching for content "the old fashion way." Lack of informational architecture alone should drive stakeholders to implement a robust, standard vocabulary for labeling or tagging business critical content across their organizations. I've focused on the Dublin Core for the basis of many a project.

The word "metadata" means "data about data". Metadata articulates a context for objects of interest -- "resources" such as MP3 files, library books, or satellite images -- in the form of "resource descriptions". As a tradition, resource description dates back to the earliest archives and library catalogs. The modern "metadata" field that gave rise to Dublin Core and other recent standards emerged with the Web revolution of the mid-1990s.

Creating a concise taxonomy will also improve overall communications within the bounds of the organization and enable staff to better implement procedures and practices. Thus, creating an intuitive taxonomy can be both a team building exercise and an investment with additional dividends. Data quality is driven by a common set (and common understanding) of data standards, domain standards, and business rules. If data is located in one or more locations , Duplication and the need to re-create it are reduced or eliminated. Finally, by using a metadata repository and enforcing common standards, reports and dashboards will reflect the correct data.

Metadata is key to building intelligent and high-performing enterprise solutions. The benefits cascade to many facets of the organization, including business process management, business intelligence, IT management. Better business performance, staff efficiency and stakeholder satisfaction are compelling enough reasons to mesh metadata development into IT strategies.

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