As a whole, search has created some bad information habits for us.
Search has in some ways flattened hierarchy. For the haters of hierarchy out there, this might seem like a good thing.
I have never been a fan of too much hierarchy as that often doesn’t leave enough room for items to be fit in at more than one level and in more than one category.
However, having a common hierarchy does provide a structure for finding information as long as the rules of the hierarchy are well known.
If you have a file structure with one folder for customers and another for suppliers, then it should be pretty easy to find what you are looking for in one of those places. However, you might have contacts that are both customers and suppliers. You could put their information in both categories. It is a little redundant but this is not a terrible solution for this problem. But as you have more folders and content this becomes morevof a challenge.
This is where the ability to tag content is a better solution as you can have an unlimited number of tags on a single piece of content. Of course, the danger here is the risk of over tagging. Where is that threshold of tagging too much vs. not enough?
It ultimately comes down to the choice of the data curator. The funny thing is that we really don’t have all that much experience with curating data. There are plenty of data analysts in the world, but data curation is different. It is the qualitative side of quantitative information. In our data driven world, we are really good with databases, but less so with data.
There is not much training on data curation. There is not much training on data strategy. Yet, this is where the richness and insight from data is. Letting artificial intelligence find patterns and relationships may work, but skilled strategy and curation may lead to something even more powerful.