Why You Should Avoid Enterprise Metadata Projects
Going along with the post on enterprise data modeling earlier this month, I should include metadata projects. It's a rare metadata project that is done properly and makes sense. Properly =
1. clear goals
2. achievable goals
3. driven by a distinct need
4. has resources / ability to be maintained when project is complete
Most projects attempt to capture metadata in a repository where it will be useful to all. It usually ends up being useful to none. This is because it's not actively linked with the applications in the organization. If you rely on developers to notify the repository of every schema or rule change, you'll have metadata that's as good as the documentation on most internally-developed IT applications.
The only really useful repositories I've seen are linked to ETL or data integration applications. Projects focused on doing just a metadata repository in the absence of active integration with infrastructure or applications results in failure.
I came across a great metadata rant the other day that discusses many of these problems, even though the metadata being described is mostly web-page metadata. Here's a snippet:
People are lazy
You and me are engaged in the incredibly serious business of creating information. Here in the Info-Ivory-Tower, we understand the importance of creating and maintaining excellent metadata for our information.
But info-civilians are remarkably cavalier about their information. Your clueless aunt sends you email with no subject line, half the pages on Geocities are called "Please title this page" and your boss stores all of his files on his desktop with helpful titles like "UNTITLED.DOC."
This laziness is bottomless. No amount of ease-of-use will end it. To understand the true depths of meta-laziness, download ten random MP3 files from Napster. Chances are, at least one will have no title, artist or track information -- this despite the fact that adding in this info merely requires clicking the "Fetch Track Info from CDDB" button on every MP3-ripping application.
Short of breaking fingers or sending out squads of vengeful info-ninjas to add metadata to the average user's files, we're never gonna get there.
Posted by Mark Wednesday, February 23, 2005 10:24:00 PM |