We’ve spent the past 4+ weeks working on a client’s content migration. They asked us to first address taxonomy and metadata for their nearly 48,000 portal documents. They wanted us to select the correct terms for each document in a spreadsheet so they could pull that information into their new portal electronically, Â thus dramatically improving search results.
Perfectly reasonable. Exactly what we would recommend. One catch â€“ they hadn’t first identified what actually needed to migrate and what did not.
As a result of this skipped step, the client has paid us to look at and tag financial reports from 2001, procedural statements from 1997, memos and emails of policy changes made in 2005. There were countless duplicates, such as a PDF of a status report, side-by-side the original Microsoft Word file. Or, an .xls file next to its twin with the more recent Microsoft extension of .xlsx.
There were many, many ZIP files. These present an interesting set of problems.
- It’s difficult to precisely tag a group of files contained in a ZIP file
- ZIP files present a security risk because they demand downloading and unpacking, leaving files on a computer that may not authorized to have said files
- ZIP files on an intranet result in a proliferation of files on local hard drives or shared drives, where users may not be able to find what they need or may return to use something now out of date
- ZIP files are a poor usability solution as they require downloading, unpacking and the launch of an application to open the document
- ZIP files do not leverage version control and in-browser editing that some platforms, such as SharePoint, offer
The most surprising find was a manuscript of a novel â€“ the client is not in the business of publishing fiction.
Suffice it to say, a review and decision about whether or not to migrate or archive each piece of content should have been done first. Our experience indicates that you will typically migrate one third of all the content currently residing on your intranet or portal. Don’t waste your time or money on the rest.
If document retention demands that it be kept, archive it. But remove it from potential search results and limit access. That way after you move the new stuff over to your new platform, the newest, most accurate will be the only things that can be found.
Each step in content migration is important. One missed step, and you may wind up wasting resources on the next one.
I’ll be presenting at the IABC World Conference in Chicago in June on content migration. I’ll bring insight and tools from our very recent work to help you guide your migration to a successful end.
In the meantime, look for more here on the topic. We have multiple recent projects to talk about.