How to decide which metadata to capture

Document Capture is the first mandatory step to ECM. Document Capture is done in a variety of ways; through scanning, capturing emails, through API integration, but however you input documents into your ECM system, the key to making use of them is metadata. All ECM systems, even file systems rely on metadata for search and retrieval. And defining which metadata should be indexed is crucial to smooth usage of your ECM.

24. 1. 2018 Simona Párnická

The must-haves:

All systems have these three metadata fields, whether the user is aware of them or not.

  • author/creator
  • 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.

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