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April 7th, 2006: White Paper: Meta Data and Information Architecture

Meta data is usually seen and treated as an IT issue. In fact it is a business issue. But does business care?

This white paper describes experiences of a practitioner with information architecture and meta data. After a (necessary) introduction, a summary of these experiences is given followed by a description of a practical approach to realize explicit, managed growth of information as a corporate resource. The main purpose of this white paper is to share knowledge. And to see if we can narrow the existing gap between IT and business.

Concluding remarks in the White Paper
Meta data is usually seen as something of and for IT-specialists. The reason is that most problems with meta data are strongly related to what is happening in and around the IT-infrastructure. Problems with knowing which data is where, bringing data together for all kind of purposes (operational, managerial etc.) and many other issues are problems that are related to meta data.

In this white paper, meta data is related to the knowledge of the information of an organization. This knowledge is the basis for the information architecture of the organization. In fact, the information architecture ought to be the basis for the meta data in the same way as the demand for information is the basis for the supply of solutions. Ideally, differences between demand and supply should not occur. When they do occur it means supply does not meet demand (yet). Or: the IT-infrastructure does not do (yet) what the organization wants it to do.

By developing and managing the information architecture of an organization the demand for information of this organization can be made explicit. Having good knowledge of what the de-mand is will be leading for the definition of meta data itself. Really knowing what the demand is, is crucial for a real integration of the components of the IT-infrastructure and for an optimal support of a flexibile, agile organization.

For these reasons, and many more, the information architecture is crucial for an organization to obtain real control and management over it IT-infrastructure. The problem is that most or-ganizations still think and work in projects on IT. Experience is that the described information architecture will put all of this in the normal perspectives an organization has and works with.

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