Information Organization and Classification: Taxonomies and Metadata*

By Barb Blackburn, CRM, with Robert Smallwood; edited by Seth Earley

Information governance (IG) necessarily involves organizing and classifying information. IG is critical to enabling improved search results to base business decisions on, executing records retention schedule (RRS) tasks, and sifting through and finding responsive (relevant) information in the e-discovery process. Well-organized information constructs provide downstream benefits across the organization in not only compliance and legal efforts but also day-to-day decision-making and knowledge worker productivity. It is even more crucial in the era of Big Data.

The creation of electronic documents and records is exploding exponentially and multiplying at an increasing rate. Sifting through all this information results in a lot of wasted, unproductive (and expensive) knowledge worker time. This has real costs to the enterprise. According to the study “The High Cost of Not Finding Information,” “knowledge workers spend at least 15 to 25 percent of the workday searching for information. Only half the searches are successful.”1 Experts point to poor taxonomy design as being at the root of these failed searches and lost productivity.

Taxonomies are at the heart of the solution to harnessing and governing information. Taxonomies are hierarchical classification structures used to standardize the naming and organization of information, and ...

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