SharePoint is one of the best platforms for content management.
Ever since its launch, many organizations across the globe utilize it mainly for document management and collaboration. When the data is small, storing, managing and discovering them wouldn’t be a problem. But as the data grows, the real trouble begins. Just imagine, if you have tons of documents within the hierarchy levels of folders and no proper metadata is attached to it, finding them in that ocean is a nightmare.
You start digging for a file today and you may end up finding it tomorrow.
Therefore, for any content management system, metadata plays a key role to effectively categorize and organize that content. It will enable you to easily find the content whenever it is required. It will help you filter, sort and group your content, making its management quite easy.
So, how do you properly attach metadata to your content?
Your best bet, choose one of these two options- Either create custom columns in specific lists and provide metadata locally or define the managed metadata globally and re-using it in every list or library across the sites. The latter gives you a few advantages- you can organize, find and retrieve your content from any list or libraries based on this centrally managed metadata.
Now that you’re well acquainted with properly attaching metadata to your content, let’s dig deep about Managed Metadata and how it is actually used.
Managed Metadata is information about information, which is a hierarchical collection of centrally managed terms that users can define, and then use as attributes for items in SharePoint.
When you use SharePoint products, you can manage metadata centrally. You can prepare a complete list of metadata keywords that are suitable for your organization and can create them centrally either in Central Administration or Site Collection, depending on your preference, so that this metadata can be used in any level for any document. If you created at Central Admin level, it would be available for any site collections and, if you created at Site Collection level, it would be available only in that site collection. You can organize the metadata in a way that helps your business and use the metadata for list items or documents in SharePoint lists or libraries to make it easier and to quickly retrieve documents whenever you want them.
As you gained a formal understanding of managed metadata and how you can manipulate it for your benefit, let me explain how it is classified. For starters, it’s classified into two categories- Taxonomy and Folksonomy.
Taxonomy and Folksonomy
Taxonomy is a predefined formal classification. In this, admin can creates groups, term sets sand term labels according to the company’s taxonomy structure and users can use them to tag their data in any site collection.
Folksonomy is an informal classification. This is created by site users whenever they want it and they use it in a Site Collection. Terms created like this would be available only in that site collection. Now, let us understand Metadata Terms.
A Term is a specific word or phrase that you associated with a document or an item on a SharePoint site. It is a single item in a Term Set. A term has a unique ID and it can have many labels to support multilingual site, the term can have labels in different languages and, they are of two types:
Managed terms are the terms that are pre-defined by term store administrators. They create them based on their company’s metadata requirement and organize them into hierarchical term sets. These terms would be later utilized by site users in all the sites.
Enterprise keywords are words or phrases that users add to items on a SharePoint site. They can directly create them at document level and it would be available to re-use in that Site Collection. The collection of enterprise keywords is known as a Keyword Set. Typically, users can add any word or phrase to an item as a keyword. This means that you can use enterprise keywords for folksonomy-style tagging. Sometimes, Term Store administrators move enterprise keywords into a specific managed term set. When they are part of a managed term set, keywords become available in the context of that Term Set.
Metadata Term Sets
Term sets are the collection of related terms, which is also classified as two types based on the scope they’re created- Local Term Sets and Global Term Sets.
Local Term Sets
Local term sets are created within the context of a Site Collection and are available for use (and visible) only to users of that Site Collection.
Global Term Sets
Global term sets are available for use across all the Site Collections that subscribe to a specific Managed Metadata Service application.
Metadata Term Groups
Term group is a set of term sets that share common security requirements. Only users who have contributor permissions for a specific group can manage term sets that belong to the group or create new term sets within it.
Term Store Management Tool
Term Store Management Tool is a tool which manages all the term groups, term sets and term data. It will show all the global and local site collection term sets available under a respective term group. We can manage term store language and permissions on the Term Store in the tenant level.
Until now, we have reviewed the options available to create and managed metadata. Now let’s review how to use metadata in a list or library and how we can use it to organize or filter content across the tenant. For that we must create a managed metadata column in list or libraries first.
Managed Metadata Column
Managed Metadata Column can be created by giving a specific managed term set to it. This will allow you to use the terms of that term set to attach them as metadata to your content.
You can configure your column either to allow only pre-defined terms of that term set or to allow to add a new one whenever it is required by users.
You can use an OOTB Enterprise keyword column to attach keywords to the content. Using this column, you can also provide new keywords at the time of attaching metadata to the content which will in turn add them to the keywords collection of your term store.
Usage of Managed Metadata
The managed metadata features in SharePoint allows you to control how users will add metadata to content. You can control over which users can create metadata terms and term sets and which users can add them as metadata to the content. You can also limit enterprise keywords to a specific list by configuring the keywords term set as closed.
Instead of creating custom columns in every list or library and providing metadata specific only to those list or libraries every time, defining managed metadata globally and reusing them across sites will ensure consistency and better management.
When the same terms are used across sites, it is easier to build processes or solutions that rely on metadata. Additionally, it is easier for site users to apply metadata consistently to their content.
Benefits of Managed Metadata
Term store administer can access all the term sets and terms at any time. They can create new terms based on business metadata or updates the existing terms which will automatically reflects on the tenant wherever that updated term or term set is used. If your site is multilingual, you can also specify multilingual labels for individual terms.
Managed metadata is mainly used to improve files discovery. Defining metadata globally and re-using it across sites enables you to quickly search and retrieve your content by using this metadata. You can also add this metadata as refiners in your SharePoint search results page to further refine and filter your search results based on this metadata.
Managed metadata is used for sites navigation, list and libraries navigation. By using metadata navigation, we can filter list and libraries very quickly.
To summarize, Metadata plays a key role in the Content Management System. Without metadata, most of the information in your organization is likely to be unstructured. Adding metadata will help you find, organize and gain insights from your documents.
Additionally, it will help you to quickly search, reorganize the things fast and with a smooth experience.
There are many tools available in the market, but the Saketa Migrator tool is the best tool for managing metadata and migrating all your data, including metadata without any error or loss. Choose this tool for seamless migration of your content to Office 365 and, retain all your metadata with zero complications.
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