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New ECM Features in SharePoint 2010

MOSS 2007 was a very capable ECM product but there were definitely some things in it that required coding to accomplish.  There are five specific areas that are new or that have been improved that are worth mentioning for the world of Enterprise Content Management.

Enterprise Content Types

Enterprise Content Types (or ECTs) solve the problem of having to keep content types synchronized across site collections.  Typically, the issue in the past is that you create a content type in one collection and then you also have to updates those content types on all of your other site collections.  The power of the ECT is that it allows you to define one site collection as the hub and then the Managed Metadata Service looks at the source site collection and periodically updates all other site collections with any changes.

Document Id Service

Another ECM challenge is keeping track of documents that have gotten moved.  The Document Id Service helps with this by generating a unique identifier for every document uploaded.  It then stores this URL as metadata on your document and then creates a link passing the id to _layouts/docidredir.aspx.

Managed Metadata (Term Store)

This is a great new feature for ECM and I am afraid my description of it won’t be able to do it justice.  The way it works is that there is a new Managed Metadata column that you can add to your content types.  There is a place called the term store that allows you to create a hierarchy of terms in something called a term set.  This allows you to make relations to things.  For example, you could have continents, relate to countries, relate to states, relate to cities.  You can have the user specify a value by typing in the field and it searches as you type to find a matching term.  The cool part is that this applies to search, so if you search for the state of Washington, you will get documents that were tagged with a value of Redmond.  You can also create synonyms for terms for example you could have OKC resolve to Oklahoma City.  This is a really powerful new feature that will allow users to make better choices when classifying documents which in turn leads to better search results.  There really is a lot more to this, I’ll provide more details on it as I collect more information.

In Place Records Management

I know a handful of people that would say Records Management in MOSS 2007 was pretty much unusable.  I think SharePoint 2010 will change their minds.  The main issues were that you had to ship documents to an external library to manage them and the interface for applying holds was not very user friendly.  Activating the In Place Records Management feature will add a new button, Declare as Record, to the ribbon of document libraries.  Clicking this marks the item as a record and I believe puts it in a readonly state.  To go along with this, you can activate the Hold and eDiscovery feature which gives you a much nicer way to create and apply holds to records.  All of this together gives you the ability to apply holds to documents without ever having to ship them off any where (although you can still send them to an external records center).  You can also now schedule a job to move records to the record center on a regular basis.  I’ll also point out that there is a new Compliance button on the view properties page of a document.  This button allows you view holds, expiration, record status, and auditing.  This should make working with records much easier in the future.

Document Sets

SharePoint also now gives you the capability to group documents together in sets that can be worked with as one logical unit.  Effectively you create custom document content types and then create a document set content type.  The document set has a settings page which allows you to specific which child content types to include  It let;s you specify default documents to create when a new document set is created and gives you the capability of synchronizing metadata on shared site columns among the document set and child documents.  When you view the document set in a document library, it kind of opens like a folder but displays a page (which can be customized) showing metadata and each child document.  It also provides the ability to download the whole set as a zip file.  It’s interesting concept and may provide to be quite useful for some types of document collections.

There are some exciting new features in SharePoint 2010 for ECM.  I think the Managed Metadata and the In Place Records Management will be highly useful myself.  There is obviously more to ECM than what I covered, but I hope these highlights are a good start in learning about the new features.

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More Stories By Corey Roth

Corey Roth, a SharePoint Server MVP, is an independent consultant specializing in Cloud technologies such as Azure and Office 365. He also specializes in mobile development. Corey serves as the product manager for two cloud-first mobile app platforms: BrewZap and HappenZap.

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