sharepoint folders vs. metadata best practices

Download SharePoint Folders vs. Metadata Best Practices

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SharePoint Site Collections

SharePoint Folders vs. MetadataBest PracticesWhat is Metadata?Metadata is information that describes, classifies or identifies a piece of information. Metadata is typically described as a set of attributes that help to describe or classify an object.22This is Metadata

3This is Metadata4

What is a Folder?5Container of files and other folders within a Document LibraryA folder has a name and a URL location.A folder is a familiar metaphor for most people from the physical world (e.g. file folders, cupboards, buckets, etc.) and the digital world (file shares, email, etc.)

Folders vs. Metadata: Folders6Imagine you have to categorize documents in three ways: Department, Year, and Publishing Status. This is what a traditional folder structure looks like to categorize across MULTIPLE metadata elements.Why did I pick Department first?Lots of repetitionNo way to filter easilyMultiple clicks to find the right filesWe have used this approach historically because we had no better alternativeand we migrated from a physical metaphor.Folders vs. Metadata: Metadata Site Columns7In SharePoint, we can assign multiple metadata attributes using independent site columns. Each attribute acts as a tag or property of my document.I can filter, sort and view based on any combination of attributesI can pick multiple values to tag per attribute (e.g. my document could be BOTH finance and IT)Moving from Folder to Site Column (e.g. Metadata Attribute in SharePoint)8

Change Folder to a Site Column

Advantages of Site Column over a Folder9

Site Column definitions are re-usable across document libraries where folder hierarchies have to be recreated each time.Site Columns can be added to Content Types to define types of documentsSite Columns are can be used by search to filter search resultsMetadata values can be validated (e.g. must be a date, a number, a user, etc.) where folders can be any text value as a labelDocument can have multiple selected choices instead of a single folder (e.g. document can be tagged as both finance AND information technology)Document can have multiple metadata attributes (instead of being locked into a single folder hierarchy)Site Columns can have default valuesSite Columns provide filtering and sorting including filtering by more than one column (e.g. show me only items that where department = finance and language = English)Site Columns can be hidden or displayed in views (folders are always visible)Moving a document means the URL changes changing a metadata property value keeps the URL the same.Deep folder structures mean long URLsSome Reasons why Folders Can Still be UsefulEasier to create a folder than metadata structure and easier to adoptFolders are security boundaries can set permissions on foldersEasy containers to drop in large volumes of filesYou can set default metadata values for each folderSharePoint limits number of files in a view to 5,000 so folders can be helpful if you have large numbers of filesFile names in SharePoint must be unique folders can avoid name collision

10ConclusionPlan out your taxonomy before organizing your documents use re-usable site columns to standardize how documents are classified, tagged or categorized across the organization.Use Site Columns in SharePoint to store metadata instead of folders, in particular for categorizing, tagging, searching and filtering documentsFolders should be used only for specific reasons where they are still helpful containersConfigure your search to leverage the metadata you have invested in creating!

11Thanks!Christopher Woodillcwoodill@hotmail.com@microsofttrendwww.microsofttrends.com

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