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Working with Organizational Dark Data

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Essay title: Working with Organizational Dark Data

Working with Organizational Dark Data

By: Paul Chin

Source: Intranet Journal 7/7/05

“How easy is it to manage your organization's content when you don't know where a lot this content is?” The answer is simple, you can not! This is due largely to the fact that many employees are not knowledgeable about the content and/or does not know where to begin to research the content. In the article, Working with Organizational Dark Data, Paul Chin discusses intranet (an internet like network whose scope is restricted to the networks within a particular organization) dark data (something that you cannot see directly but knows exist due to the affect that it has on other things).

In the 1990's, organization's begin to use intranets as a corporate content management tool to store all sorts of information shying away from tools that were previously used such as: word processor documents, spreadsheets, PDF files, structured databases, proprietary applications, hard copy documents stored in file cabinets, employees' e-mail, discussion groups and blogs, and inside employee's head. With the implementation of the Intranet, organizations could better manage information made available to their employee's by dispersing content into a centralized environment that could be easily navigated. However, the question still remained: How much of this content truly made it onto the corporate Intranet?” No one truly knows but, one thing they do know is that it exists because of the effects in corporate efforts such as: presentations,

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conversations, and emails.

Dark data comes in all shapes and sizes with some being more useful than others. However, to fully understand the concept of dark data one must know that it has two main classes: undiscovered and concealed. Undiscovered is that content that has been lost, no one knows where it is, or if it truly exist. Concealed is that content that is intentionally hidden by its owner(s) for personal use and/or gain. Dark data varies from one organization to the next depending on how long it has been established. Those organization's that have been around for years are more likely to have more dark data than those established a few years ago. Organizations that attempt to run a comprehensive Intranet without attempting to locate as much data as possible are faced with the risk of duplicating content. By, duplicating the content an organization may be faced with wasting time and energy re-doing something that already exists and will be faced with trying to figure out what content is actually accurate.

Organizations may be faced with two major issues when it comes to consolidating dark data into the Intranet: discovery and integration. Discovery is the process of finding and aggregating all applicable dark data to be included in an organization's Intranet. This process can be made complicated by content owners who are not willing to share their information or deliberately conceal

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