Digital haystacks are rapidly increasing in size. How can you be sure you’ll be able to find what you need when you need it?
Information is power…. but only if you can find it!
Metadata, classification, and taxonomy are essential components of managing large volumes of data on a company network or content management system. These elements help ensure data is organised, searchable, and accessible.
In this blog post, we will explore the importance of metadata, classification, and taxonomy in managing data. We will also discuss how neglected content stores can be brought back to life by the automated addition of valuable metadata.
Is this a new problem?
No, taxonomies have been around since Aristotle’s time and anyone who has visited a library will have used a classification system to find the book they were looking for. The difference now is that information storage is increasing exponentially. Where previously tagging documents with metadata was useful, it is now absolutely essential.
Fortunately, most modern Content Management Systems (CMS) fully support taxonomies, and metadata and are widely used. But what about all of the legacy data and information stored within documents before classification policies were in place? We often deliver large content migrations for customers who have reasonably well-populated metadata for recent submissions, but older content usually has very little or nothing at all. Retrospectively tagging documents has always been a monotonous exercise and is often avoided, resulting in some possibly valuable information become effectively unfindable.
Before we go any further, we should be clear on the terminology as this can be confusing.
What is Metadata?
Metadata is descriptive information about data. It includes data such as author, date created, date modified, keywords, and other relevant information. Metadata is used to help classify data and make it easier to find. Metadata is a powerful tool that helps organisations structure and manage large volumes of data effectively.
What is Classification?
Classification is the process of organising data into categories. It helps to group data based on specific criteria, such as author, subject, or type. Classification is important because it helps to categorise the data, making it easier to find and access. It also helps to ensure that data is consistent and can be used in different contexts.
What is Taxonomy?
Taxonomy is a hierarchical structure that is used to classify data. It involves organising data into groups and sub-groups. A well-structured taxonomy makes it easier to navigate data and find relevant information. Taxonomy can be used to create a controlled vocabulary that ensures consistent classification of data. It also helps to ensure that data is easily searchable.
Why are Metadata, Classification, and Taxonomy Important for Data Management?
Managing large volumes of data can be a daunting task. Without proper organisation, data can quickly become overwhelming and difficult to find. Metadata, classification, and taxonomy can help to manage large volumes of data by making it structured and easily searchable. With appropriate metadata applied, data can be searched based on specific criteria such as author, date created, or keywords. Classification helps to group data into relevant categories while the taxonomy provides a hierarchical structure that makes navigating the data more straightforward.
Consistent data and a controlled vocabulary alongside classification and taxonomy ensure that data can be organised consistently and is easy to find, use or share.
So, how is it used in the real world?
MS 365 and SharePoint
Microsoft SharePoint is our most popular target when migrating customer’s existing document stores to a new cloud platform. It is familiar, user friendly and contains all of the features and functionality required to apply a detailed taxonomy to large volumes of documentation.
SharePoint Term Store
The Term Store is a powerful tool that can be used to manage all aspects of metadata, classification, and taxonomy within SharePoint. The Term Store provides a central location where terms, keywords, and other descriptive information can be stored, managed, and shared across an organisation. It helps to ensure that metadata is consistent and can be easily searched.
However, for organisations that have a large volume of content that has not been previously classified, applying a taxonomy to all of that content can be a challenging task. This is where T-Systems and Azure Cognitive Services can be used together to intelligently apply terms and keywords to previously unclassified content. Azure Cognitive Services is a suite of AI-powered tools that can be used in the classification of content. These tools include text analytics, natural language processing, and machine learning algorithms. The T-Systems migration and integration platform can automate Azure Cognitive Services, to quickly and accurately classify large volumes of data, making it easier to manage and search. The classification can be applied either as part of a migration or as a stand-alone service. It is even possible to schedule the process to run on a regular basis to find and fix any new, unclassified documents.
When using Azure Cognitive Services for content classification, organisations can create a custom model that is trained to recognise specific terms or phrases relevant to their business. This model can be integrated with SharePoint to automatically classify content as it is added to the system. The model can also be trained to recognise different languages, making it easier to manage multilingual content.
Using an automated approach to content classification can save organisations a significant amount of time and resources. It can also help to ensure that content is consistently classified, making it easier to manage and search. By combining the power of the SharePoint Term Store with Azure Cognitive Services, organisations can create a powerful and efficient system for managing their content.
When migrating data, the associated metadata, classification, and taxonomy are important elements to consider. It is important to ensure that the metadata, classification, and taxonomy of the data are maintained during the migration process. This ensures that the data remains organised and searchable after migration. In scenarios where different source platforms are being moved into a new, common target, it is important to apply a standardised taxonomy and classification scheme to all of the content. This is a common issue when we deal with merger and acquisition projects. In these situations, we can use our software platform to update and standardise the taxonomy across all content. The value here is that the transformation happens in-flight as the data is migrated, saving time for the customer and ensuring metadata is consistent within the new target platform.
Metadata, classification, and taxonomy are essential components of managing large volumes of data on a company network or content management system. They help to ensure that data is organised, searchable, and accessible.
The ability to find information quickly and reliably will become even more important as data volumes continue to increase. With the advanced tools and services available now, this is the ideal time to get your content organised and avoid getting lost in the haystack!
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