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May 19, 2011

Content owners don't care about metadata

Or do they?

Our recent post about Booz & Company's 'men named Sarah' highlights just how important good metadata can be in order to provide a great search experience for employees and customers.

One of our customers who spoke at the recent ESS 2011 in New York provided some great insights into the problems organizations have getting employee content creators to include good metadata with their documents.

During the ESS talk, they report that content owners don't really seem motivated when asked to help improve the overall intranet site by improving document metadata. However - and this is a big one - when a sub-site owner sees poor results on their own site, they are willing to invest the time to provide really good metadata.

[A bit of background: This customer provides a way to individual site owners within the organization to add search to their 'sub site' pretty much automatically - sort of a 'search as a service' within the enterprise.]

So if you've been thinking of adding the ability to search-enable sub-sites within your organization, but solving the relevance problem is your first task, you might reconsider your priorities!



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Metadata is super important when it comes to retrieving relevant information. Part of the job of enterprise search providers is to educate organizations on how to optimize their databases so that information becomes easier to find. I think the tide is turning and organizations are starting to understand.
Well said, Kimberlee. Databases are almost easy: well defined fields that provide context just in the field names - 'Name', 'Product', etc. Content management systems are a bit more difficult just because humans have to elect to add metadata. When it gets down to file shares, the quality is almsot always suspect. (See our recent post 'Sixty guys name Sarah'... Thanks for leaving a note!

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