How to benefit from metadata

The power of automated metadata

On a traditional file server, a folder hierarchy (one dimension) is used to locate documents. The developer of the folder hierarchy finds it the most logical structure for the documents. The problem is that this structure is rarely entirely logical.

A multidimensional structure makes it possible to find documents in several dimensions, dimensions that are important for your organisation.

Metadata in general

What is metadata: Labels, tags, information fields, metatags, hashtags – words you use when tagging documents and storing documents in a document management system, i.e. data about data.

A folder is described by a folder name, it is also metadata but the problem with a folder is that a document can only be stored in one folder and not in several. If it is under several folders, there are duplicates. It is also easy to create new folders, which leads to the folder structure growing over time and ultimately becoming difficult to keep track of. A smarter way to tag a document is with metadata in Office 365.

Examples of metadata can be Document Type, Subject, Chapter, Process, Keyword, Company, etc. Create relevant metadata fields that make it easy for your colleagues to find the documents from their perspective.

Metadata should be applied to all major document libraries in Office 365/SharePoint. MetaShare helps you organize a metadata structure in your Office 365.

The result with metadata in Office 365

Tagging your Office 365 documents with metadata gives you a whole new level of control over your documents.

The benefits are:

  • Filtering: simpler filtering through metadata navigation.
  • Free text search: the search experience in Office 365 is improved. The search engine will search for words in a document, but when the documents are tagged with metadata, the search engine will also search in these tags and the search result will be better.
  • Search refinements: you can configure the search results pages to refine the search results with metadata (a form of filtering).
  • Disposal and archiving: having metadata also helps you to either dispose of or archive documents based on set rules.
  • Workflows: you can create workflows that run based on the document metadata.

Adding metadata

End users usually find it cumbersome to tag their documents with metadata, especially if several of these fields are mandatory to be filled in. Careful thought should therefore be given to deciding which metadata fields to include. The guideline is to have as few metadata fields as possible, but that these ultimately enable your employees to find the document sets they are looking for. MetaShare facilitates both the creation of metadata fields and their completion.

MetaShare applies metadata automatically

MetaShare automatically populates metadata based on what the user is working on. This means that MetaShare remembers where you are working with and when you add or create a new document, MetaShare will automatically populate the metadata for the user. However, users can replace these with others if the proposal is not correct. MetaShare also helps users choose the right document template, based on the type of document you are creating.

How structure is created automatically

There are three ways to manage metadata in MetaShare:

  1. You pre-populate a ready-made metadata structure, known as managed metadata
  2. You let the user create and add metadata as they work
  3. You combine a ready-made metadata structure with metadata that users add as they work

Finished metadata structure

The best approach is to have a ready-made metadata structure in MetaShare, i.e. different tags for users to choose from. Users can then only select from this metadata. One of the settings when configuring MetaShare with is to define that one or more tags are mandatory. Users are therefore forced to select metadata before they can save/create a document and this allows you to have a homogeneous structure for your documents.

You let the user create the structure as you work

Instead, if you let users add metadata as they work, MetaShare will automatically build a structure according to the users. The disadvantage of this is that there may be different words that mean the same thing and the structure may end up growing quite large. It will require going through this structure regularly and “washing” it.

You combine a ready-made metadata structure with “open” metadata

The last method is to combine a ready-made metadata structure with metadata that users fill in as they work. For example, you can have one or two managed metadata fields that are mandatory and one field where users can add their own values.

Automatic metadata structure in workspaces (websites) in Office 365.

One function of MetaShare is to manage collaboration surfaces (websites). This makes it easy for you to create, manage, work and collaborate in different collaboration spaces for teams, projects, departments, etc.

On the MetaShare start page:

  • Get an instant overview of all your Office 365 collaboration spaces that you have access to.
  • Easily create new and manage existing collaboration spaces, without involving IT.
  • Can you add metadata to collaborative surfaces, so that you can later search, sort and filter among collaborative surfaces. Collaboration spaces can be of any type; MetaShare, Team Site or a standard SharePoint site.
  • Each workspace can be assigned designated roles with different permissions.

The real benefit is that MetaShare helps your organization build a homogeneous structure for all collaboration sites:

  • Collaboration spaces (websites) do not need to be manually configured when they are created.
  • Simplifies the maintenance and management of an organisation’s document management function and tagging structure
  • It is easy to configure MetaShare so that collaboration surfaces are homogeneous and consistent.