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Cleanup: ROT

Understanding ROT

What is ROT?

ROT is Redundant, Obsolete, and Trivial data living in an organization’s content sources.


Redundant data is information that is no longer needed. It’s superfluous content.


Obsolete data is information that is no longer current. It’s out-of-date content.


Trivial data is information that has little to no importance. It’s insignificant content.

Why it’s important to identify ROT

Identifying ROT is the first step to understanding what unnecessary data exists in your organization and where it exists. Once identified, ROT rules can be customized and applied to meet your organization’s data management goals. 

For example, if your organization will be completing a data migration, ROT rules can be applied to exclude flagged content from the migration process. As a result, no ‘dirty datasets’ are migrated, and your organization has a clean and accurate start with its new data management strategy.

What is the ROT process?

The ROT process can be divided into three phases: Connect, Identify, and Action. These three phases also align with those of the Content Cleanup process.


An initial metadata crawl is the first step in the Connect phase. The index created from the crawl is what ROT rules are run against in upcoming stages of the process.


During the Identify phase, Shinydocs reviews our standard ROT rules with your organization to determine what (if any) customizations are required. This is also when Shinydocs can help your organization understand what to expect from the result of running your selected ROT rules. Once ready, each ROT rule is run against the index generated from the initial metadata crawl and files that meet the query condition are tagged with the corresponding ROT rules.

Hot Tip: One file, multiple tags

A file can have multiple tags as a result of meeting the query condition for multiple ROT rules. For example, an old temp file can meet the condition for both a ROT rule to tag trivial content and a ROT rule to tag obsolete content.

As a result, the file will count twice in the total count of tagged ROT content — once for trivial and once for obsolete. While this may give the impression that more overall data is ROT than is actually the case, a file cannot be deleted twice. Visualizations will confirm that the total number of actions taken in response to ROT align to the total number of files that are ROT. 


After initial tagging, running ROT rules can be added to the standard set of scheduled tasks your organization performs as part of ongoing data management. ROT can also be actioned by directly or indirectly disposing of it or by excluding ROT from your organization’s data migration initiatives. 

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