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Metadata tagging contributes to an optimized search service for SharePoint Online, but may not be appropriate for every organization

Adding metadata to specific artifacts stored in SharePoint Online, as Jamie McAllister points out in a video tutorial on managing documents and lists in SharePoint Online, contributes to an optimized search experience for users.

The title of this video tutorial is Manage SharePoint Online Documents and Lists. The artifacts are documents, which are stored in document libraries in SharePoint Online, Office 365.

McAllister and his colleague, Rob Latino, spend a few moments on the difficulties end users often experience adding metadata. For many the task is tedious. So McAllister admonishes his audience to proceed carefully.

But for organizations with a clear need for a robust search service, and, further, for a method of mining as much useful business intelligence as possible from their proprietary data, it may not make sense to de-emphasize the importance of metadata tagging.

These organizations are often highly regulated businesses: banks, diversified financial institutions, energy exploration businesses, oil refiners, etc. Compliance reporting requirements often demand an ongoing effort to equip as much company-specific data with metadata as possible.

So these organizations should look to adoption methodology to encourage end users to actively support the effort and, further, to provide a lot of the effort required to ensure related tasks are successfully accomplished.

McAllister’s presentation in this tutorial is technical, which makes sense for his intended audience of SharePoint Online end users and site owners. But there are other resources available from Microsoft (for example, the Office 365 Adoption web site) better suited for the needs of stakeholders in a decision to implement metadata tagging.

McAllister does mention a limit of 5 properties, or less, for end users to fill out as they add documents to libraries in SharePoint Online. This guideline may, or may not, be useful. Each organization exhibits different characteristics. So, once again, stakeholders in an effort to implement Office 365, SharePoint Online along with a robust metadata tagging effort will have to closely observe just what works for their respective communities of users.

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