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SharePoint 2010 : Making Enterprise Content Management Work - Document Management (part 3) - Document IDs, Managed Metadata

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7/11/2013 8:42:53 PM

4. Document IDs

The document ID service enables you do assign unique IDs to documents within a Site Collection. You can then search for and retrieve documents based on ID independent of location. To use this feature, you have to enable it within the Site Collection (refer to Figure 6). When you do, you can click the Document ID settings page within Site Collection Administration (see Figure 11).

Figure 11. To configure document IDs, click the Document ID settings link within Site Collection Administration


There are two options within the Document ID settings page (see Figure 12). The first setting is vitally important—it enables you to configure a prefix that will be applied to all documents within the Site Collection. Why is this setting so important? Provided you use unique prefixes across your Site Collections, it will ensure that your document IDs will be unique across Site Collections. The second option enables you to specify a search scope that is used for looking up documents using the ID field.

Figure 12. To configure document IDs, click the Document ID settings link within Site Collection Administration

As a best practice, make sure that each Site Collection has a unique document ID prefix properly configured. Don’t just make something up; instead, use consistent prefixes according to your document management policies. Your governance committee should approve all document ID prefixes used in your enterprise; this will ensure that all document IDs assigned by SharePoint are globally unique.

5. Managed Metadata

With managed metadata, SharePoint 2010 enables you to create centrally managed taxonomies and use them across lists and document libraries. In addition, users are able to navigate by using the metadata items. As an example, you might want to tag proposal documents with a custom property called Offering, which consists of one of the following: product, service, or training. To do so, you can create a new Column in SharePoint called Offering Type and select Managed Metadata as the Column’s type. This enables you to point the new Column at a managed term set in the term store. When users enter information into this property, they are able to select from a hierarchical view of preset value choices (see Figure 13).

Figure 13. The managed metadata Column type enables users to select from a set of predefined, centrally managed terms

You can also use the managed metadata type to provide hierarchical navigation for users. For example, users can get a navigation tree (see Figure 14). If a user selects Service under Offering Type, SharePoint will apply a filter to the current view, only showing items that are tagged with a service offering type. In addition, users can use the Key Filters text box to type in the value of an offering, thereby applying the filter.

Figure 14. Metadata-based navigation in SharePoint 2010 provides a way for users to navigate lists and document libraries by using metadata


To configure metadata navigation, click the Configure Metadata Navigation link within the settings for the document library. Here, you can configure three items (see Figure 15):

  • Configure Navigation Hierarchies. You can set navigation fields based on the following types: Content Type, choice, managed metadata. The properties of all Columns that satisfy one of those three types are enumerated here. You can choose any/all fields that you want users to navigate by using the tree view.

  • Configure Key Filters. In addition to the tree view, you may want users to type in filter information for fast filtering. You can indicate which fields you want SharePoint to maintain an index on for filtering.

  • Configure automatic Column indexing for this list. Typically, you’ll want SharePoint to manage Column indices on the list.

Figure 15. The metadata navigation settings enable you to configure document filtering based on metadata Columns, providing automatic filtering based on filters

6. Workflow

One of the biggest new features in the last version of SharePoint was the introduction of out-of-the-box workflows. SharePoint 2010 continues to enhance the workflow capabilities within SharePoint. Workflow is a framework for defining rules and associated actions on a list entity (like a document). Workflow rules can be based on metadata (for example, Create Date < 1/1/2005 or Status= ‘Approved by Manager’) and can trigger actions like document approval, removal, or movement. The biggest advantage of workflow implementation is the consistency and structure it offers. Workflow rules are defined, and then SharePoint manages the actions based on criteria that are met. From a document management perspective, workflow is interesting in that it enables content administrators to define rules for how humans interact with documents within SharePoint.

SharePoint 2010 contains a few out-of-the-box workflows that represent common workflow scenarios. One of them is an approval process. In this case, one or more approvers must confirm the validity of document content and acknowledge their acceptance through a formal process. The SharePoint-based workflow manages the process of notifying each approver of the requested action, captures the response, and notifies the next approver on the list of the request.

As stated earlier, workflow is a huge advance in the document management capabilities offered with SharePoint 2010. It presents the framework for introducing a set of well-defined actions, with or without intervention, as they apply to SharePoint. In addition, actions can be defined so that appropriate activity can occur and be logged as documents are altered.

7. Document Information Panel

One of the toughest challenges in building a document repository is ensuring that each document is tagged with well-defined metadata to make certain it is easily discovered by organizational members. With the breadth of content that is often created in a corporate environment, this can be an overwhelming task. (Ask anyone who has tried to manage a document management system!) Content contributors are much more focused on the details within a document than thinking about how best to classify it. Content discovery, after an item has been submitted, is an afterthought. Why is this bad? Search engines, even the best ones, cannot deliver optimal results if little is known about the content. In addition, it is hard to group similar content if linking attributes are not consistently managed. This leaves many organizations stuck. They have a SharePoint environment that contains the majority of business critical documents but no easy way to find or associate key content.

Why is document tagging so difficult? Mainly it is because the tagging process happens too late in the document submission process. Just after a user uploads documents, he/she is asked for a bunch of metadata. When users are in a hurry, they leave off metadata to save time. Once a document is in the repository, it is very unlikely that it will ever be tagged again by the author. How can SharePoint 2010 make it easier to get authors to assign metadata?

This Document Information Panel (DIP) is an interface within the Office 2010 products (Word or Excel or PowerPoint) that shows the metadata requirements for that document in the Office interface. A content contributor can update metadata as he/she is creating the document. Think about the power in that. SharePoint 2010 has moved the metadata entry process earlier in the document life cycle, closer to the author of the document who, in many cases, has the best knowledge of which attributes apply.

By providing an easier means of assigning document metadata, directly in the environment in which the document is created, the DIP can increase the quality of metadata associated with documents. This additional data has far reaching impact as it offers a better user experience in terms of content “findability” (search, for example). In addition, it provides the data required to implement stronger audit policies around specific types of content.

8. Document Center

One of the final items to note regarding document management is the Document Center, which is a site template that enables you to centrally manage documents in your enterprise. Where most sites contain document libraries that are geared toward supporting that particular site only, the Document Center is for centrally managing documents.

What does the Document Center template provide? It’s essentially a template that has two key lists: a document library and a task list. This Document Center site template also enhances the default settings in the document library to support strong content control. For example, check-out is required before editing, major and minor versions are enabled, support for multiple Content Types is enabled, document sets are enabled, metadata navigation is enabled, and auditing is enabled to track content changes over time. The site template also provides a custom welcome page that facilitates easy upload and search (based on document IDs) for users (see Figure 16).

Figure 16. The Document Center template enables you to create a site specifically geared toward enterprise document management

Use the Document Center site template for documents that need to be managed in a centralized way. Use a team site template with document libraries to store documents where users are actively collaborating.

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