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Office 365 Meta Data

Basically, meta data is data about data and is used in the process of indexing, storage and recovery of information.

If you imaging a filing room full of cabinets. The last thing you would do is walk in and place a document into any drawer in any cabinet. If you did, when you needed that document again you would be faced with starting with the first drawer in the first cabinet and searching through every document until you found the right one.


So, you would create an indexing system. To do this you would first think about what documents you were intending to store and, also, what situations may arise in the future that would require rapid location of any document. It would be no good filing everything in just date order if when the time came to search you might have only an approximate idea of the document date. Better then to split documents into categories, say, customer letters incoming, customer letters outgoing, invoices, orders, etc. And then place documents into the categories by date.


Such an index structure is called a taxonomy and the taxonomy describes the indexing method. Scientific taxonomy may contain hundreds of index levels to fully categorize an object, but in business document storage it is rarely necessary to go down more than three of four levels. These may be -

  1. Department (Sales, Purchasing, Accounts, etc.)

  2. Business Category (Customer correspondence, Supplier Correspondence, Financial, Legal, etc.)

  3. Document Type (Letter, email, form, telephone conversation, etc.)

  4. Document Identifiers (Date, reference, invoice number, order number, etc.)

Meta Data is made up of Taxonomy Key Words or Phrases.

So, if we now wish to locate a document, say a letter of contract drawn up with a particular supplier, we would look in the purchasing section of the filing room, in the customer correspondence cabinet, in the drawer relating to the particular supplier and in the folder for the date period when the agreement was drawn up.

The same sort of taxonomy or indexing would apply if we were using a computerised system. This method of document storage is old and reliable, but suppose you want to view that letter of contract when you are not in the office? Suppose you are on the suppliers premises, about to attend a meeting to discuss an extension or revision of the arrangement and you need to view the detail immediately?

EDMS Meta Data.

With a cloud based EDMS system, instead of storing the document in a cabinet or keeping an electronic copy on a computer network, you import an electronic copy into the EDMS and index it using a few meta keywords and or phrases. With this method a copy of the document is available to you where ever you are, provided you have a computer, tablet or smart-phone and an Internet connection.

Additionally, the document is more secure than it can ever be on any local area network.

Browsing plus Searching.

The EDMS has delivered a way in which you can locate data rapidly provided you have some idea where to look. However, supposing someone placed a purchasing invoice in the sales invoice area, how would you find it?

Browsing is great when thing are in the right places, but misfiled documents can be lost forever. This is where document search comes in. Using an EDMS search engine you can locate data where ever it is simply by entering a few known meta data items and let the machine locate the missing item. In a good EDMS system the machine will 'crawl' and index all documents on a regular basis to ensure that searches are fast and accurate.

Learn more.

Chris Watkins I've been an IT professional for over thirty years. Most of that time has been spent helping large organisations with the evaluation, installation and maintenance of business software applications.
I have a wealth of knowhow on the subject of data management.
Advice is free and so are basic templates. If you need more just ask. I only charge for actual work done.
Contact - Tel: 01392 58 0420 email: