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Syndication

Alan Pelz-Sharpe and James Lappin discussed the challenge of multiple repositories on 25 March 2011.

Alan said that every organisation he had worked with had their content (documents/records etc.) spread across numerous different repositories.

These repositories had typically grown up as the organisation had merged or acquired other organisations, and/or as they had added new systems for specific lines of business.

At the recent Info 360 trade show lots of people had come up to Alan to ask him what they could do about the problems caused by the multiple repository issue.

James said that the two obvious approaches were to either:

  • consolidate content into one repository (Alan dubbed this 'the uber repository')  OR
  • run a federated search across all repositories

Alan was sceptical as to the feasibility of either  approach.  

Migrating all content into one repository was almost impossible because:

  • content is structured differently in each repository
  • metadata is captured differently in each repository
  • some of the repositories will be tailored to support specific processes and it would not be possible to tailor the 'uber-repository' to support all of those different processes.

Running a federated search over each repository is no panacea either.  Lets assume you have connected the search engine to the various different repositories.  Your search engine now has the problem of understanding the way each repository keeps metadata.  And even it managed to understand the metadata in each repository, it still has the challenge of normalising across the various repositories, so it could rank and present one set of coherent search results from them all.  Alan thought you could make federated search work over three or four content repositories, but most of the organisations that he had advised had way more than four content repositories.

Near the end of the podcast we discussed the prospects for a challenger to SharePoint's market dominance emerging.

This podcast was recorded via Skype on 25 March 2011

Direct download: split_tracks_version_of_multiple_repositories.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:00am UTC