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Can you really implement taxonomies in native SharePoint?

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From the ISKO Meeting March 14th 2017 - Making KO Work: integrating taxonomies into technology.

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Can you really implement taxonomies in native SharePoint?

  1. 1. © Metataxis 2017 Designing the information-centric environment Slide 1 of 21 Can you really implement taxonomies in native SharePoint? Marc Stephenson March 2017 Metataxis
  2. 2. © Metataxis 2017 Designing the information-centric environment Slide 2 of 21 About Metataxis • Information architecture/management consultancy • Technology independent - not a Microsoft partner • Formed in 2002 • 6 staff and many associates • Worked on 40+ SharePoint projects • Consult and implement • Private, public and third sector • SMEs (10 staff) to large organisations (100,000+ staff) • Training programmes for SharePoint, IA and IM • We like and use SharePoint…2003, 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016 (Office 365)
  3. 3. © Metataxis 2017 Designing the information-centric environment Slide 3 of 21 Just some of our (150+) clients
  4. 4. © Metataxis 2017 Designing the information-centric environment Slide 4 of 21 Agenda • Overview • Columns (metadata) • Content types • Term sets (taxonomies) • Wrap-up
  5. 5. © Metataxis 2017 Designing the information-centric environment Slide 5 of 21 What is SharePoint? • An Enterprise Content Management environment/platform/application suite: • Web content management • Document management • Records management • Knowledge management • Enterprise search • Social media • Workflows • Electronic-Forms • Business intelligence • Data integration • All of which use metadata and taxonomies
  6. 6. © Metataxis 2017 Designing the information-centric environment since 2002 Slide 6 of 21 Columns
  7. 7. © Metataxis 2017 Designing the information-centric environment Slide 7 of 21 Column Overview • “Column” is the term mostly used for metadata in SharePoint, also “Property” • Metadata is used with any list or library • Each item in the list uses the metadata. For example: • Files in a document library • Web pages in a web page library • Days in a calendar • Columns are defined at global or local levels • Defined columns are used locally (in a list) • Defined columns are usually placed within a content type • Defined columns are easily re-used • Columns configure views • Allows grouping, filtering, and sorting of items in a list/library • Views are easy to define and use • Views make SharePoint powerful and flexible
  8. 8. © Metataxis 2017 Designing the information-centric environment Slide 8 of 21 Types of Columns • System columns (automatically populated by SharePoint, unchangeable) • Custom columns (information architect defined, changeable in any way) • Columns may be mandatory/optional/hidden • Many columns data types: • Text – various kinds • Numeric – various kinds • Choice (pick-list) • People/group (Active Directory) • Date/time • Managed metadata (use taxonomies, or parts of taxonomies) • Keyword (use folksonomy)
  9. 9. © Metataxis 2017 Designing the information-centric environment since 2002 Slide 9 of 21 Content Types
  10. 10. © Metataxis 2017 Designing the information-centric environment Slide 10 of 21 Content Types Overview • A content type defines and encapsulates: • Set of columns • Office template (optional) and icon • Workflow (optional) • Information Management Policy (optional) • For example: • Agenda, Policy, Press Release, Contract, Correspondence, etc. • Used by SharePoint internally, but also extensively customisable • Content types are defined at global or local levels • Content types are used locally (in a list) • Content types can inherit from other content types • Many default, built-in content types
  11. 11. © Metataxis 2017 Designing the information-centric environment since 2002 Slide 11 of 21 Term Sets
  12. 12. © Metataxis 2017 Designing the information-centric environment Slide 12 of 21 Term Set Overview • “Term”: • A word or phrase that can be associated with an item of content • A term can be a managed term or a managed keyword • Managed Terms or Term Sets (taxonomies) • Collections of related terms, usually hierarchically structured • Can be open (add only) or closed to users • Created and managed by an information architect/taxonomist • Many term sets can be created • Managed Keywords (folksonomy) • Collections of terms in a non-hierarchical list • Always open to users (add only) • Created by users, and managed by an information architect/taxonomist • Only 1 keyword set exists • All managed via the Term Store Manager
  13. 13. © Metataxis 2017 Designing the information-centric environment Slide 13 of 21 Term Store Manager Functions • “Re-use” terms – bi-directional reuse of terms/branches in other term sets • “Pin” terms – uni-directional reuse of terms/branches in other term sets • Terms can have “Other labels” (synonyms) • “Merge” terms - synonym and “re-use” combined • No poly-hierarchy, within a term set • Terms can be deleted (no!) or deprecated • Terms may/may not be used for tagging • Terms and term sets may have properties • Local and Custom term properties • Properties free format – no property re-use • Term sets may have a custom sort order • Managed keywords can become managed terms • Various implementation limits
  14. 14. © Metataxis 2017 Designing the information-centric environment Slide 14 of 21 Managed Metadata Service • Manages: • Columns • Content type hub (centralised store) • Term Store • Update and propagation of changes automatic • 1 hour to days, depending in nature of change • In SharePoint Online, time can’t be changed • Log of what, how and when • Access must be controlled – information architect/taxonomist only • Mistakes can cause wide-spread issues • All changes need careful planning
  15. 15. © Metataxis 2017 Designing the information-centric environment Slide 15 of 21 Managed Metadata Service Limits Content Type Hub (1…n) Term Groups (1…n) Term Sets (1…n) Term Store (1…n) Terms (1…n) Only 1 in SharePoint Online Any number in SharePoint on-premise 1 million terms per term Store 1,000 terms sets per term store 30,000 Terms per Term Set Administration boundary Only 1 in SharePoint Online Any number in SharePoint on-premise
  16. 16. © Metataxis 2017 Designing the information-centric environment Slide 16 of 21 Term Management • All terms have a GUID, system generated, hidden to the user • A taxonomist can change the term label at any time • Wherever the label is used, it is automatically updated (system timer job) • If terms are deleted, items that used the term will have a metadata error • Needs manual user fixing • If terms are deprecated, items that used the term will fine • No longer available to tag with, but remain searchable • Can’t have same label at the same term set level • Tagged terms can show the end term (leaf) or full-path (all branches and leaf) • Full-path allows searching within all branch labels • But uses too much screen space, especially in views • Columns can have single or multiple term values • Multiple values disables view sort and group features
  17. 17. © Metataxis 2017 Designing the information-centric environment Slide 17 of 21 Management Issues • Term set import functions exist – via csv in import format • No term set export – need bespoke scripts (simple) • Simple re-import does not work (same label, different GUID) • Making SharePoint the master taxonomy repository does not work well • GUID issues • Loss of richness of taxonomy – no scope notes etc. • No reporting or analysis (with bespoke scripts) • Need “String and glue” integration via Excel, VBA, etc. • May need companion taxonomy products within SharePoint • For example: Smartlogic and Concept Search • May need companion taxonomy products outside SharePoint • For example: PoolParty, Synaptica and MultiTes
  18. 18. © Metataxis 2017 Designing the information-centric environment since 2002 Slide 18 of 21 Wrap up
  19. 19. © Metataxis 2017 Designing the information-centric environment Slide 19 of 21 Penultimate Thoughts • SharePoint metadata management is good • SharePoint taxonomy management is “good enough”, but… • Not suitable for (very?) large implementations • Not suitable for complex implementations • Not suitable for ongoing management • Anything vaguely sophisticated, needs “extras” • But… • SharePoint is not going away • Make use of it the best you can – especially if you have nothing else • Something is better than nothing
  20. 20. © Metataxis 2017 Designing the information-centric environment Slide 20 of 21 Final Thoughts Can you really implement taxonomies in native SharePoint? Yes, just about.
  21. 21. © Metataxis 2017 Designing the information-centric environment Slide 21 of 21 Questions? marc.stephenson@metataxis.com www.metataxis.com MetataxisMetataxis

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