Learn the basics of metadata and how it makes Confluence great again.

To organize the collective intelligence from multiple business functions, you first need to design an intuitive content structure to make sure that information is discov- erable, whether through site navigation or search queries.

User-generated Labels Lead to Content Chaos

You may already be familiar with Confluence’s labelled content feature – the primary method for organizing content.

However, letting your team members freely add page labels can create problems. You’ll end up with a raging storm of tags that only brings more chaos to the wiki space. Not only does this approach require constantly keeping track of all the avail- able tags, you’ll also have to correct misspellings and updating teams with the right taxonomy.

Let’s face it. Even with a labelling system in place, with every new page comes a new topic and a plethora of new labels. And having all users consistently follow your label- ling rules is wishful thinking.

Page Properties Fall Short

So, aside from labels, what are other ways to help teams effectively manage content?

What your team really wants is to have the right information in front of them when they want it. Much like searching on “Atlassian” in Google and immediately getting a neat summary of all the information about the company Atlassian.

Confluence out-of-the-box comes with basic data categorization via the page proper- ties macro. With this function, your user can generate a table containing key informa- tion about the content and have it shown on a “summary page.”

Here’s an example, based on the properties created including Title, Owner, Due Date, and Status. The user can report the information about all project pages in a table.

However, similar to the limitation of labels, page properties lack the flexibility to present collective information that matters to different users. Plus, it requires tedious macro setup along with user-generated parameters. Which means you’ll end up with yet again more clutter than before.

This is where metadata comes in.

Metadata Brings Order to It All

In a nutshell, metadata refers to information about a page and its content, such as creator and creation date, among other details.

With metadata, it’s extremely easy to add predefined categories to pages. This allows you to pull information from those pages and display only relevant data in a table format for quick insights into the content.

There are three main categories of metadata for Confluence:

Descriptive metadata: Information that enables content discoverability Structural metadata: Information about the page structure Administrative metadata: Information about the source of content

Using Metadata for Confluence, you can skillfully conjure myriad content manage- ment capabilities, including:

Maintain a structural space organization and improve usability Enhance content discoverability, regardless of naming conventions Implement a more user-friendly Confluence navigation
Build a directory based on content from multiple sources
Make sure only relevant content is shown to a particular user

In the next chapter, we’ll let you in on our secrets to building a robust content plat- form using Metadata for Confluence app.