All systems have these three metadata fields, whether the user is aware of them or not.
- date created
- primary identifier / primary key
Five steps to determine which other metadata fields to capture
1. Define what will help users find content
Start with a workshop with your end users where you focus on learning:
- How they currently find documents?
- In what kinds of situations do they look for documents, and how will the search parameters differ in those situations?
- What information in the document is most important to them?
2. Define fields based on document type
Look at the documents themselves, for example, an Invoice will have a date specifying when it was paid - this may be a candidate for a metadata field.
3. Look at what information needs to be stored with the document, but is not a part of the document itself.
- User comments about a document.
- Revision numbers that need to be captured
4. Look at metadata dependencies
- Group-specific Documents Types with Business Units to control access to sensitive information
5. Keep the number of required user entered metadata fields to 5 or less.
If you ask users to enter values for more than 5 metadata fields, you are creating an unnecessary risk of corrupting data. Entering metadata into a form is not fun, and users can get bored of it fast. Use automated methods to catch as many fields as you can.