Skip to content
Thoughtfarmer intranet blog
Processes and Productivity

The thorny issue of archival content on the intranet

Archiving is tricky. How have you dealt with it on your intranet? Have you ever preformed a giant web harvest snapshot and backup of your intranet?

3 minute read
intranet user personas
You might also like…
Intranet use cases Thumbnail
Intranet use cases

Yes, it’s true. Those are almost verbatim the words that were uttered by an intranet manager I once met. I’ve used it many times in conversations with clients about slimming down their intranets.

Now, you’re thinking, I’d love to delete a lot of old content on my intranet, but I just can’t. I’ve got some pretty big reasons as to why I can’t. Like regulatory. Or records management. Or just plain old paranoia.

Besides, someone might need it one day. And then it will be here for them.

4442489313 F078ef73cd O

Of course, we know that there are issues with that.

Ever tried finding a particular document or collection of documents amongst 100,000 others on an intranet with a sub-par search engine, questionable information design, and highly varying degrees of reliable content? And our time is precious and expensive. Managing and maintaining 100,000 and growing pages on the intranet can cost lots.

A noble goal for many of our customers is a smaller, more relevant intranet. But it’s too is hard to do.

What help is there?

Recognizing the characteristics of your content is a great first step.

Once you recognize the short-term / long-term orientation of your content, how do you design your site for it?

What’s the “stuff” of your intranet? The “skin” or the “structure” — how do you assemble your content based on its temporality or permanence?

And finally, what patterns can we use from the body of knowledge to help re-enforce editorial activities that will keep the intranet a cleaner and tidier place?

Mike Briggs of Sun had this important point in his post on stale content: keep the authors tied to their content as much as possible.

The publish-and-forget anti-pattern of intranet publishing, combined with the “orphaned content” anti-pattern are harder to have happen if you keep the connection alive between content and author.

You created this page, it’s your responsibility to keep tabs on it, remove it when you see fit, or pass the ownership onto someone who will.

That’s a design pattern that we baked into ThoughtFarmer from the start: there is no anonymous page ownership. Page and author are always coupled together.

Also, ThoughtFarmer offers content management tools that allows you to schedule and assign review of specific sections or pages.

Stale content or too much content is a common problem organizations face as their intranet grows over time. Talk to our intranet experts to learn more about how we’ve solved this for hundreds of organizations.