On a traditional file server, users search for documents through a folder hierarchy, which is one-dimensional. The folder hierarchy is designed by someone who thinks it is the most logical structure for the organisation’s documents. The problem is that it rarely makes sense to all users.
A metadata structure allows documents to be stored, searched and filtered. Not just in one dimension, but in multiple dimensions, dimensions that are important to your organisation.
The search engine in SharePoint is excellent, but searchability can be improved by adding adequate metadata about the documents. Metadata, tags and virtual folders are words that help to identify and find documents.
Let us explain with the following example. In this example, we have used the following tags in Office 365: country, document type and keyword. The documents are stored in Office 365, which is represented by the cube in the image. The tags are used in Office 365 for filtering or searching.
I’m looking for a document on holiday policy for French employees. I can start by clicking on any of the tags in any combination. This time I start by clicking on the tags in this order “Region” = “France”, then “Document type” = “Policy” and finally “Keyword” = “Holiday”.
- First filtering: only documents related to France as a region are displayed in the document view.
- Second filtering: the number of documents in the view is limited to show only documents related to France as a region and Policy as a document type.
- Third filtering: the number of documents in the view is further reduced to show only documents related to France as a region, Policy as a document type and Holiday as a keyword.
In the example above there are only three dimensions, you can use as many tags and dimensions as you need. This is achieved by tagging documents when you either create or upload them to Office 365.
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