R. Todd Stephens wrote a great article that was published in DMReview a little while back that talks about the evolution toward Collaborative Metadata. I just ran across it a little while ago and I thought it was a great read. He uses the term Metadata 2.0 and I think that is a really good way to describe what collaborative metadata is and how we have progressed from the Web 1.0 world to the Web 2.0 world by integrating user based content and collaboration in many of the web apps that are seen today.
Metadata by nature is collaborative. Knowledge is spread out across an organization. The business users have knowledge about what a data item means and technical architects know how a data item is transformed on its way into the data warehouse.
Users are learning more all the time. They are given tasks that teach them more about the business every day. This knowledge needs to be gathered for others to use. Users need to be empowered share this knowledge in the easiest way possible. By giving them instant access to a consolidated information base, they can learn and integrate their new knowledge into the enterprise.
Metadata is something that takes active management. Metadata collaboration is an active process where an organization must share, collaborate, and manage the metadata life cycle. If an organization doesn’t manage their metadata, it will get out of control.
Metadata can be presented in a fashion that enables collaboration. To enable this collaboration, we have to present the metadata in a fashion that allows users to update the metadata and bring it up to date. Wikipedia is a good example. Users submit articles, updates, and corrections to the Wikipedia online encyclopedia. Editors monitor the changes and moderate the changes to keep the quality high.
In the next article in this series, I’ll begin talking about how to implement a collaborative metadata platform using some simple tools – a couple of them I wrote to help out.