When Intranet Content Becomes Obsolete

Is this what happens to your content?
One of the perennial problems of managing an intranet is keeping the content useful and relevant without ending up with a huge number of pages that aren't being looked at. A strategy that is often used by intranet managers is to delete obsolete content on an annual basis and then repeat the process the following year.

This is fine in the short term as users will see a noticeable difference but over time the number of pages will start to increase and the intranet will be back to where it was previously. A better idea as suggested by Patrick Walsh is to have a lean and sustainable intranet. This avoids the all too frequent intranet redesigns which work well for a while then crash and burn and the almost inevitable increase in the amount of content to the point where intranet users aren't able to find the content they're looking for anymore.

With the lean and sustainable intranet, the most important (the visible content) is kept to a minimum, this should go someway to ensuring that it remains relevant and that it's used. 

But to get to this point you need to undertake a process where you make the intranet lean, so how do you strart this process? This is the question asked in the post "When intranet content becomes obsolete" on the Noodle blog.

The authors outline a process for identifying obsolete content using two criteria Age and Usefullness. Age is a good criteria to use as it's obvious if a page hasn't been updated in a while that it should be deleted. However as the authors explain some documents/pages wont be updated regularly (policies, forms. procedures, mission statements etc) these need to be retained. So this is why usefullness is oftent used as an additional criteria. The usefullness of a page is usually identified by looking at how often it's read (via intranet statistics). Likes and dislikes can also be another way to identify how often a page is used as well as looking at how often it's searched for, or returned in search results.

Whatever process you put in place you need to ensure it takes account of the needs of your organisaion and your intranet editors.