Meta data standards are not often the first thing considered when developing content management systems; but, sooner or later, the issue comes to the forefront. Sometimes it is because administration becomes unwieldy, search results are imprecise or users ask for features, such as navigation, that cannot be introduced without meta data. When you hit one of these problems, questions arise. You know you need meta data, but where do you start? What should be included? How do you get content creators to actually add meta data? Once you have it, how do you exploit it?

Meta data serves several purposes in content management systems (CMSs) including administration, search and navigation, policy enforcement, access control and version control. Many of these tasks are managed by CMSs out of the box; others must be implemented on a custom basis. When implementing additional meta data, keep in mind basic principles of meta data design. Track only information that is needed. Use defaults as much as possible. Use controlled vocabularies. Always keep content creators and end users in mind. Here are some specific recommendations.

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