Thursday, August 24, 2006

Embedded metadata in documents

As a prelude to a post I want to write soon (when new home life becomes more settled), here is a link to an interesting piece I saw today: Embedded Document MetaData on the Formtek blog. It is a great extension to my post yesterday about Web technology for electronic records, describing in more detail the Adobe approach to embedding metadata into documents.

The value to Adobe by embedding tags is more than making documents standalone for records management purposes, actually enabling Adobe's document centric workflow / BPM. Bruce Silver covers Adobe's BPM capabilities in great detail in his 2006 Report Series. I need to re-read this myself!

Other areas of interest around these types of intelligent documents include:

  • Audit history embedded in document
  • Managing workflow outside of the enterprise
  • Semantic web technology
  • Enhanced searchability
  • Document authoring
  • Security around embedded metadata
  • Digital Rights Management

Intelligent documents are presenting new opportunities and issues to organizations. I would like to understand and write about this in more detail, so if you have any thoughts on important areas to focus on, let me know.

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Anonymous said...

This seems to be paving the cowpath. Generally speaking, I question the need for intelligent documents, when all we need is data, and rules. The concept of capturing information in document format seems redundant.

Phil Ayres said...

Colin, I tend to agree. The trend does seem to be to put more and more data into documents, maybe because vendors are acknowledging that a single system does not always have custody and control of the document. By producing a self-contained package including metadata, audit information and more the complete file and all of its context can be moved from system to system easily.

Of course, I have no idea how we will then start to handle the issue of duplicate documents with identical document content but different metadata and audit information. Just blindly updating the information seems a little risky.

I think this one is coming whether we like it or not.