Cataloguing the internet

I must admit, I’m not a huge fan of Facebook. But I’m always entertained by the snippets that pop into my newsfeed courtesy of Viz Comic (I’m not sure what that says about me, really!)

I was particularly tickled recently by the idea suggested that had Tim Berners-Lee organised the internet in alphabetical order, then there would be no need for all this so-called ‘Googling’!

It got me thinking about the first network drive I ever accessed, many moons ago when I worked in advertising – a very creative but perhaps not a very logical industry?

Everything had a job number, so some bright spark came up with the idea of organising folders on the network drive in job number order, 000001, 000002, 000003, etc.

Sadly, most of us didn’t have the capacity to memorise every single job that we were working on, and it took quite a while before an extra layer was added to organise job number folders into client folders.

However, that was just evolution – and not really much of an improvement – when we actually needed a revolution.

I’m sure most businesses have struggled, and probably continue to struggle, with this taxonomical challenge and I know that here in the TSG marketing team, it certainly causes confusion when a particular document relates to both an event and a campaign. Where do we save it?!

Those who have already attended our futuretech event, or are joining us in London next Thursday, will know that the solution to this conundrum lies in metadata.

So what exactly is metadata?

If you think about the music that you have on your mobile device, each song has a number of tags that determine the artist, album, genre, release date, playlist, etc. and it’s this information that allows you to sort or search for it in a variety of different ways.

Metadata is truly wonderful stuff. However, there is still a challenge with metadata. That is…who will fill it in, and how do you apply metadata to your documents?

It can be a thankless task. People are notoriously unreliable when it comes to adding metadata and it’s certainly not something you’d want to consider adding retrospectively.

Unless, that is, you ‘Termsetted’ the data – yes, we invented a new verb back in June at the very first futuretech event.

In a nutshell, Termset is a new cloud-based solution that effectively reads your documents and applies taxonomy and tags your files intelligently based on the content, using a technology called Natural Language Processing (not the first time we’ve covered that in the blog).

So why is this so exciting and valuable for businesses?

According to IDC research, average workers spend 2.5 hours a day searching for information

In fact, Gartner suggests that organisations who solve the metadata challenge will have a significant competitive advantage.

All this means that thankfully we don’t need to berate Tim Berners-Lee. If you’re looking to stay ahead of the game, you should forget ‘Googling’ and get into ‘Termsetting’.