Homeless Information – Mapping the Future and the Past

The project is set up, some coding is already done. Future business users have been sent home to do some homework, to define the future organisation of their contents and their audiences.
What they will most likely forget when they define their new contents are their current contents. Tons of more or less useful, more or less hidden information have been accumulated in quite a short time (two years).
Therefore I assigned a trainee to create a „real“ sitemap of the current sitemap.
The results were as expected, but nonetheless worth mentioning. After two days, she thought she had finished the job. All navigation nodes were listed and grouped hierarchically in a neat overview, including thier names and urls. The list was about 200 lines long.
It did not contain the hidden nodes, the independent pages, that had never been properly assigned to the menu. She has been reworking the list for two weeks now, it is close to 2000 lines long and still not finished.
What it yet does not include (and probably never will) are all the attached documents, the folders and pages that misused the built for publishing-intranet as a filesharing application.

This sitemap, documenting all the homeless information, will be the major source to control and crosscheck the desired new navigational order. It allows us to reject all seemingly smart ideas, that still leave a lot of information unsorted, to show the complexity of this task and to find potential problems faster. Hopefully it will also help to decide which information we really don’t need any more, and to show all businessusers at first glance the crap-to-useful-ratio of the content they produced.

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