This blog post Part 1/4 is all about what Managed Metadata is for SharePoint, why is it so important to maintain accurate and consisted metadata across portals and how SharePoint can help manage metadata.
Part 1: Introduction
Part 2: Creating your first Managed Metadata Service Application
Part 3: Creating Term set, Terms and Tagging content with managed terms.
Part 4: Leveraging Termset to create and update Site Navigation
What is Metadata?
In a nutshell, Metadata is Data about Data. A perfect analogy would be a label on any soda container, the label indicates how many calories you end up consuming or how much of sugar goes into making that can of soda etc. As a consumer, all you care is soda not the label itself. But would you ever drink anything, if there is no label on the container? So as a customer label/metadata is the most important part, for you to make a purchase.
Similarly for a site having right metadata is as critical as data itself. Users have to understand how your content is structured which would help them navigate through the site seamlessly, also search experience should be commendable. Adding right metadata around your content will tremendously improve both of these and these are just two examples. There are plethora of reasons why you would need to choose right metadata.
What is Managed Metadata?
Manage by definition mean “be in charge of”. When you have lot of people authoring content on your site, how do you force people to add right metadata or tag content appropriately. An ideal solution would be, you would define a group of terms/tags that you would request authors to choose from. And this is it! This is core idea behind Managed Metadata, SharePoint provides this management of metadata as a Service Application to control it in a centralized manner. So if your SiteCollection subscribes to that service , your content authors can tag your content using those predefined tags/terms.
Why you would use Managed Metadata?
- Consistent use of terminology
- Better Search Experience
- Reusablilty and Easier Maintenance
- Better user navigation with in the site.
I would explain more about Termsets later in this blog, you could use them to define navigation on your site, it could be Quick Launch Bar or the Top navigation
- Existing Limitations (Choice Column Type)
Columns of type ‘Choice’ would greatly help manage metadata, but if you have update or add an entry to a Choice column across multiple lists and across multiple sites you have to update for each of them. But with Managed Metadata you could update at one centralized location and users will have that readily available.
Please continue to read other related blog posts for more understanding of Managed Metadata services with SharePoint.