Make it Dead Simple
The whole point of ECM (Electronic Content Management) is to manage electronic content, meaning you have to have a way to put information in and to get it back out. You will also need a way to control (restrict or grant) access to the data. The data going in to storage must be findable again.
The success of your ECM solution is predicated on the validity of the metadata which goes in with it.Simply put, metadata describes the content you are storing in a way which allows you to find it again.
Back in the day, my fellow propeller-heads and I used to joke about Write-Only storage, meaning that data could be written to a disk, but never read, which of course renders it useless. Just as useless as Write-Only storage is content which is unfindable, or, just as bad, is data which matches too many criteria. This also makes it hard to use.
When getting content into the system, it is imperative that good, solid metadata is entered into the system along with the data.
What’s the best way to get good metadata?
Grabbing data directly off the content being inserted. This can be scanned-in images, using Capture Software. Today, this software is getting quite sophisticated and can read handwritten data as well as recognizing printed text, specialized bar codes, and images
If data is being inserted in electronic form, such as through web-services, there is likely already metadata associated with the content
Sometimes you must let the users enter the data; in this case, you must keep it dead simple to be effective.
Keep the user interface simple — only ask for the data you actually need
Provide lookups for data to restrict the domain of possible results
This adds a separate step, but can greatly increase the accuracy of the input.
Martin O. Waldron
Program Manager, SW Development