Core Records Management Features in SharePoint 2013 & Office 365

By Errin O'Connor posted 07-06-2014 23:14


In the article, I will provide details of the records management (RM) capabilities available within SharePoint Server 2013 as well as Office 365 | SharePoint Online from over 50 projects implemented by EPC Group over the past year. It is key to ensure you have a deep understanding of the licensing model and capabilities available to you and your organization so that you are not planning for core features that may not be available with you current licensing model or offering.

Managed Metadata Service (MMS) in SharePoint Server 2013 

Managed metadata is a collection of managed terms your organization can centrally store and then utilize them as key attributes throughout SharePoint Server 2013. SharePoint Server 2013 has a native Term Store Management Tool that is utilized to create and manage term sets. Some of SharePoint Server 2013’s managed metadata’s granular features are as follows:

  • Publish and subscribe model for distributed content types and related site policies
  • Central management of social #hashtags
  • Site-based retention policy

SharePoint Server 2013’s managed metadata service (MMS) application, a shared services application as shown in the image below, is what makes it possible to use managed metadata. The MMS allows you to share content types across site collections and web applications in SharePoint 2013 and Office 365’s SharePoint Online.

The managed metadata service (MMS) enables you to publish a term store for your organization as well as an optional configuration for content types to use a managed metadata connection.

Overview of the Managed Metadata Service Application

An extremely useful capability of the managed metadata service is that it can allow records managers within your organization to administer and update metadata over time without the need to provide them with SharePoint farm administration permissions. This allow you to implement a much more secure overall SharePoint security model by providing records managers with only the capabilities they need to perform their day-to-day activities and not open up other areas of SharePoint to possible security holes.

You can utilize the managed metadata service (MMS) to centrally define “product tags” to be shared across multiple sites and related document libraries.

The managed metadata service (MMS) also allows your organization to:

• Define a term store for all common elements and synonyms

• Define managed metadata in record centers for specific files based on the value of a specific attribute

  • Consume from views, navigation, catalogs, and search

• Use MMS-enhanced navigation and search queries to create information “storefronts” and catalogs

  • Select from list or type-ahead

• Utilize the Tags & Notes button on the Ribbon

A core element of the MMS are the available SharePoint Server 2013’s | Office 365’s SharePoint Online’s managed metadata connections. It is also key to understand the appropriate permissions required for the service account for SharePoint managed metadata to avoid running into errors and troubleshooting issues that may be related to insufficient permission settings.

Term Store and Managed Metadata in SharePoint 2013 & Office 365’s SharePoint Online

As mentioned in the section above, the managed metadata service (MMS) allows you to define a term store, as shown in the image below, with related term sets and terms. The term store management tool, as shown in the second image below, allows you to perform the actions to build the appropriate configuration for your organization.

Diagram of the MMS Term Store and Related Components

SharePoint Server 2013 allows for one Term Store per Shared Service Application and you can then create many groups per Term Store. The managed metadata service creates a separate database or databases apart from the organization’s SharePoint content databases.

The service is shared and consumed using the service application infrastructure. Within SharePoint’s Central Administration, users with appropriate permissions can perform the actions to create metadata service applications (term stores) and configure metadata service connections.

Understanding Term Sets

Term Sets provide and/or provide for the following capabilities:

• Create and manage different hierarchies that share terms

• Allow the same term to have different parents in different term sets

• Configure each term set to have a unique sort order

• Allow or disallow end user updates

Term Management

Term Management within your organization allows you to:

• Copy Terms

• Reuse Terms

• Provide Term Description

• Merge Terms

• Import Terms

• Deprecate Terms

• Delete Terms

SharePoint 2013’s Term Store Management Tool

You can import term sets, as shown in the first image below, and specify unique term set names for department or divisions, as shown in the second image below.

Importing Term Sets using the Term Store Management Tool


Importing Terms Sets for Specific Departments or Divisions within your Organization


Within a specific organization or division, you can create term sets. In the example in the image below, a new term is being created for EPC Group’s Application Development division.

Example of a New Term Being Created for a Specific Division within an Organization


You also have the option of importing a predefined term set, as shown in the image below, using a simple CSV file. There are limitation around the import term set functionality as it does not support:

• Synonyms

  • Translations

• Custom properties

• Reused terms / pinning

• Pinned terms – Read only usage of the terms in other places in term hierarchy

Importing a Predefined Term Set


From the Consulting Trenches: Tips and Takeaways for Implementing Term Sets

There are a few key tip and takeaways to remember when planning and implementing term sets. The following are a few quick points for consideration:

• Adding a term set as a navigation source for a site is also referred to as a catalog. When a term set is added as a navigation source for a site, you are also able to define custom pages or pass selected tags to filtered view controls.

• Term sets can be copied, relocated, and reused from existing terms

• Terms can be copied, reused, merged, deprecated, etc.

• Keywords (folksonomy) can be moved into a managed term set or deleted

• Folksonomy is referred to as managed keywords that are usually “open” and allow users to add new terms interactively

• Managed term stores are usually closed and require administrators to add new terms

• Security is limited to the term set level

• All child terms inherit this visibility setting

• When utilizing dynamic external tags, there are one way data import limits and the BCS provides alternative tag techniques. The BCS data source can also be maintained externally or by publishing the source as an external list.

• Programming and customization is allowed (C# and PowerShell) and native web parts can be utilized to display tags. You can also easily built web parts to add statistics on tag usage.

• Constraints and limitations exists such as no granular security on tag definitions or tags as applied. Also, if you add price or color to a product tag, these will not reflect in SharePoint search results.

Information Architecture Design Considerations

When approaching information architecture design considerations around the MMS, the following “from the consulting trenches” lessons should be considered:

• Use MMS to centrally define product tags to be shared across multiple sites and libraries

• Create centralized document repositories (the Document Center, etc.)

• Define a term store for all common elements and synonyms

• Use MMS-enhanced navigation and search queries to create information storefronts and catalogs

• Folksonomy consists of:

• Informal list of ad-hoc tags or terms that are built up over a period of time through user defined keywords and are centrally stored in the MMS application. They can be easily enabled for all document libraries and can also be applied to content outside of SharePoint

Additional SharePoint 2013 RM\ECM Thoughts

I will continue to build on EPC Group's SharePoint 2013 | Office 365’s SharePoint Online Records \ Content Management Strategies (RM\ECM) "from the consulting trenches.

#EnterpriseContentManagement #ECMandRMinOffice365 #TaxonomyandMetadata #ElectronicRecordsManagement #ECMandRMinSharePoint2013 #Records-Management #SharePoint