I have recently been thinking a lot about the combination of automation with actual humans in the metadata application process. This article by Jennifer Parrucci, the Senior Taxonomist at The New York Times, explains how to use rules-based categorization in conjunction with human supervised tagging for the perfect blend of efficiency and accuracy.
I appreciate that this approach utilizes not only a formal taxonomy for tag-mapping, but also acknowledges that automated rules-based categorization without oversight can result in a metadata mess. With appropriate quality controls in place, in the form of tag selection in the newsroom and review by taxonomists, the metadata quality is high without creating roadblocks to content flow.
This is a perfect example of how metadata experts should be thinking about automation in general – as a tool to enhance existing workflows, not as a complete replacement.