There is a lot of data out there that states that business suffers because information can not be located.  Is this a problem? Yes!

If you are working and trying to use internally created content to advocate, sell, or succeed, it is critical that you are able to find organizational content.  All of my regular readers know that I strongly support the telephone as the number one most powerful research tool.  Unfortunately, information users get frustrated by the need to use the phone to find something they perceive to be a simple task.

If you work for an organization and want to find content created for and about you, can you do so without picking up the phone?  Even if you use Google or Cluuz are you satisfied with the results?

If not, is lack of findability caused by the the “search engine” (internal or external) or is it because of content distribution?  Are the two mutually exclusive?

In my opinion, digital content is so easy to create and upload that no one thinks beyond the upload.  In today’s cloud computing environment, tags are easy to create and content abounds. The million dollar question is:  is content findable?    I don’t really care if it’s “searchable”  because the search is just an action to get me to the data I’m seeking.  I want to FIND information so that I can use it.

So do the tags I use make my content on this blog “findable”?  I think so…I do pride myself on being a good taxonomist.   (So if anyone needs a good custom taxonomy to make your content findable…give me a buzz.)  I aim for descriptive tags that are consistent and fit into categories.  Of course, the more content you have, the more complex your tags/taxonomy/categories become.  Consistency in applying those tools is important.

If you are a digital content creator, you must be flexible and structured.  Growth of categories and tags is inevitable but consistent application increases the findability.  If you are an organization that has multiple content creators it is important to findability to establish procedures that ensure consistency in “tagging”.  It’s hard for content creators to keep at the forefront of their minds as they work, that other people, complete strangers, need to be able to find their content.  Thinking about how to bring people in and give them the content they need ensures success in advocacy, sales and success.

There is more to the digital revolution than uploading content.  Metadata is important, no matter the process of adding to your information.  Metadata helps make content easier to find so that decision makers can locate the information they need to support their work.   So if you are publishing content, either internally or externally to/for your organization think strategically about the processes and procedures that will make your content findable and usable…having it just sitting there defeats the purpose of creating content.

Constance Ard May 20, 2009