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Tagging, and Corporate Data
Wanted to start passing along some feedback from readers – please keep those emails coming with your own thoughts.
Rick: "I am a recent (though older) graduate from University of Massachusetts (Amherst) and in my last course on database architecture we had to build a “tagged” online system. At first I could not see any relationship to the “real” world as our small team developed a tagged system for music. However, I was also working on a data warehouse system for a state department of education. Here the clients would be superintendents, principals, and even teachers. As I waded through sessions with end users it became evident that we already do some tagging in BI its just that we don’t formalize it. The administrators I was working with had their own categories (“tags”) for each report we developed. If we had a report that show the progress of a cohort of students from one grade to another, the users of that report had already renamed it to something significant to themselves.
This was repeated for nearly everything we had in the system, down to the labels for the attributes being displayed.
I now work at a manufacturer building a sales and marketing data warehouse. Our goal is to deliver meaningful information to every level of user of the data we capture from the sales person to the executive department. Wouldn’t it be great if each user could classify their own data? Maybe there is just one part of that month end report that a sales person wants and she could tag just that data and then query all her own tags.
Tagging is all about context not just content. Public tagging allows us to think about how we relate to the data on a very personal basis. It also allows us to enhance our own data by capitalizing on data that others view within a similar context. One person’s dashboard indicator on a geographic basis may be the foundational piece of another’s study on how weather affects product delivery. The point of tagging is enabling the end user to add context data of their own for relevance, something no about of requirements gathering could ever hope to capture.
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