Metadata is important for two main reasons:
- improving search
- grouping like materials together to improve serendipitous finding
Metadata can also be used to improve filtering or developing a filtering system.
Most companies have no knowledge of applying metadata to their materials. Most companies don’t apply metadata to their materials, so they don’t see the benefits.
A lot of knowledge management is a long term investment. It takes time to develop metadata tables and keep them up to date. Still, a company can see results pretty quickly when a good metadata manager or specialist takes your data in hand.
How to Start
1. Identify a department or function that would be a good place to start
- Willing managers
- Agreeable staff
- Combination of internal and external information in a few subject areas
2. Hire a metadata manager
- Develop a job description using standard competencies
- Look at salaries using the SLA Salary Survey
- Try a contract to permanent situation so you can get the right type of person for your organization
3. Find a system to contain your information
- Survey what systems are available in-house. Getting IT onside is usually helpful
- Survey systems used by companies in your area
- Send your metadata manager to conferences to look at available systems.
Then let your metadata manager get on with it. While you won’t get the full effect immediately, you will start to see improvement in retrieval on different levels. A recent Nature article states “…few data sets will really be FAIR, because most will be unfindable. What’s needed are policies and infrastructure to organize metadata.”
Improved retrieval saves time and money.