Let’s face it, the vast majority of organizations have poor metadata. Don’t worry, you’re not to blame. Creating metadata is challenging and cumbersome. However, without metadata chances are content is not being found within your organization, resulting in wasted time, which equates to decreased productivity.
A recent survey from FindWise found that 63% of respondents reported that locating information within their organization is hard or very hard. So, you know what that means? All that your users want this holiday season is to find is to find what they need, when they need it. It sounds easy in theory, but we know it’s not. Without the right tools in place, metadata management is no picnic!
The Importance of Good Metadata
Your organization may be using metadata to tag documents. However, how is the quality of your metadata? If documents are not tagged with the appropriate metadata, then queries return every document that contains the search term, with no refinement of search results.
To meet today’s information challenges, metadata must be used to enrich the end user search experience. With good metadata, search results are more relevant as priority is given to documents in which the query matches the metadata (over documents where the query matches only the text within the document).
How Do You Fix This Problem?
The first option is to manage metadata manually. Starting in SharePoint 2010, Microsoft introduced Managed Metadata Service (MMS) and enhanced it further in 2013. SharePoint OOB also includes verbatim extractors (string matchers) to populate managed properties in search and lets users manually tag content. To start familiarizing yourself with terms, term sets and enterprise keywords, checkout this article on TechNet.
Be prepared that managing metadata manually is a labor intensive project that requires meetings with key stakeholders and a well thought out strategy. We only recommend this should you have the time and resources available. Also, come up with a plan on how to encourage your users to tag content appropriately.
One organization recently found that over 40% of their data repository was tagged with the first term on the dropdown list. Users were simply picking the quickest and easiest choice rather than the correct one. This results in a poor search experience- after all the effort to develop a process!
A Machine-Generated Approach
The second option is to look into a machine-generated approach. Instead of manually tagging documents, a machine-generated approach can be used to automatically classify crawled documents according to a defined taxonomy. For instance, BA Insight’s AutoClassifier automatically adds the defined taxonomy node names, or terms, to the MMS term store and tags the matching documents after these files are crawled. The AutoClassifier includes a taxonomy manager to develop both taxonomies and rules. These are stored in the term store and are usable throughout SharePoint since they are fully integrated with MMS.
There you have it, a quick look at the importance of metadata and how you can take steps to create a better user experience for end users. For more information on BA Insight’s AutoClassifier, I recommend you check out our whitepaper, “Machine-Generated Metadata in SharePoint” or take a look at BA Insight’s AutoClassifier in action!