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Knowledge content migration

1 April 2011
migrating birds

Many organizations choose to migrate (or “move”) their knowledge content from one system to another. The migration of content can have many causes. One of the most common reasons why migration is conducted is because old systems are becoming obsolete and its technology is starting to become outdated; new requirements arise with time and as organizations grow.Content migration is an opportunity to identify the successful content on organization website/portal and revise the content that is no more engaging the audience. Such a migration includes five steps: evaluating content; planning; metadata mapping; content migration; and, verification.


Key principles for managing the knowledge content migration process:

  1.  Evaluating - the first step is to start to revisit the content and understand "What" organization has. This step is important because, before actually going ahead with a content migration, you need to know the knowledge content types that you have to migrate and plan for any additional effort later.

  2.  Planning - is the most critical part of the migration. Effective planning includes: defining the scope, project plan usage with timelines and tasks assigned to the employees, i.e., delegating the responsibility.

  3. Metadata Mapping - for content migration, metadata can be defined as the information that describes the location of the source (database name, filename/table name, field/column name) and the characteristics of each information asset, such as title, subject, description, and keywords.

  4.  Content migration: Now that you know which content and mapping need to be migrated, focus on designing the right solution to implement it. Based on various factors, like volume, content cleansing, structure, technical feasibility and time vs. cost, we can choose from one of the below methods:

    Manual Content Migration - This method of content migration could be called the “human approach,” since it involves a person or team of people doing the work of copying and pasting a site’s content from one system to another, as well as manually uploading any related images or resources and updating any navigational links.

    Advantages: 1) Manual migration allows you to review content throughout the entire process; 2) If you’re considering rewriting or reworking content, manual migration gives the opportunity to do so; 3) Manual migration provides an excellent training exercise for content editors, who can use the process of migration as a chance to familiarize themselves with the new site’s functionality.

    Disadvantages: Labor intensive and time-consuming

    Automated Content Migration - This method of content migration consists of a process in which a developer script or a pre-built tool is used to move content from one system to another.

    Advantages: 1) This option works well for sites with a large number of pages/content; 2) Automated migration can be done faster than manual migration.

    Disadvantages: 1) Developing scripts can be costly; 2) Some content might not be able to be scripted, and the way content is architected in one system may not translate to other systems.

  5. Verification: All the content that is migrated should be thoroughly verified at the destination website/system, ensuring that all the content is migrated successfully.


I would like to conclude by saying that content migration projects vary in scope and complexity depending on what you are trying to do. The basic steps to be followed are not complicated though and can be implemented as described in the above sections.In spite of careful planning and execution, there will always be some surprises, and the project team should be prepared and ready to handle them.

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