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SharePoint 2010 Metadata Webinar – Questions and Answers

Daniel Kogan

Our webinar with Microsoft”s Daniel Kogan on SharePoint 2010 metadata generated a lot of interest and subsequently a lot of questions! We were only able to answer a few of them during the webinar itself, so as promised, here are the rest of the questions along with the answers. Thanks Daniel for handling the majority of the questions!

Doesn’t SharePoint 2010 have this email integration feature out of the box?

No it doesn’t. Colligo is Microsoft’s partner to provide the integration between Outlook and SharePoint. In fact, Microsoft’s own Legal and Corporate Affairs Department has recently deployed Colligo Contributor for email management. Nishan DeSilva, Microsoft’s Director of Director of Information Management & Corporate Records Compliance recently did a very well attended webinar with us on their deployment.

The link to the on-demand webinar as well as more information on Microsoft’s deployment of Colligo Contributor can be found in this blog entry here.

As Colligo Contributor is doing the metadata add on the client side, does that mean any user can define the adding of metadata on his own? I mean there should be at least a possibility to define a strict policy for that.

Colligo allows a user to set metadata values if this has been enabled by the SharePoint server. However, Colligo does not allow the user to alter the managed taxonomy. It does allow the user to create new keywords (folksonomy) if this is configured on the server.

Can the Colligo Contributor metadata editor be forced to popup when a user is creating a new (or saving) a document that is launched from the desktop and not through SP? Also, can the same thing be done with non-Microsoft apps?

Yes. Colligo’s Contributor File Manager product is a Windows Explorer extension at enables any application that uses the Windows Explorer interface to save an item into a connected SharePoint library. Colligo Contributor will launch the metadata editor and upload the completed item to SharePoint when saving the file. This works with both Office and non-Office applications.

How does Contributor deal with conflicts in metadata when offline?

Assuming your question is regarding conflicts between the offline version and server version of an item, when Contributor synchs the local cached version with the server version and detects a conflict, it launches two metadata editors which will display the metadata from both the local and the server version, enabling the user to compare the two and decide on how to resolve the conflict.

I”d like to hear which metadata features you talk about are available for Standard vs. enterprise license level. We are at Standard, but might consider enterprise at some point, so I”d like to know what we may be missing.

There’s no specific metadata features called out as enterprise only. You can check the differences on our web site here:

Can subtypes of an Enterprise Content Type be linked to, or require, site-collection, or site-specific metadata?

Yes, a content type that is syndicated can have one or many columns consuming from one or more taxonomy services. And each column has a settable property for whether it is required or not.

If my solution only consists of 1 web app and 1 site collection where all my portals and sites resides, do I then need a content type hub? Couldn”t I just use site collection content type?

Without a content type hub, the content types are Site collection specific. Depending on the use case this may or may not be an issue. A content type hub allows you to share/move content types across site collection boundaries, whether in a single Web App or across farms.

Can you push out/force use of content types, or is it all up to the site owners to subscribe? Can you point us to any guidance/best practices for rolling out what you went over here? What should we work of specifying first? In my organization, we”re working on a general organizational taxonomy, but I am interested in how to implement it.

You can ensure that all site collections have the content types from the hub available. Whether or not users have the right to create other content types on their sites is a matter of setting and configuration. So if you prevent anyone from creating content types locally, and provide the ones they should use then I believe you can accomplish your goal.

For planning a general organizational taxonomy is the way to start. You can read about planning for managed metadata here:

Is it possible to rename enterprise keywords? I am able to modify managed metadata terms; however I haven”t been able to find a way to correct typos in enterprise keywords. Suppose you have a custom SP list with a managed metadata field. Is there any way to modify values for the managed metadata field using the “edit in datasheet” view? I only seem to be able to change values by opening list items individually.

With the Store Management tool you can open the Keywords term set and edit the spelling of any keyword. That change will then be reflected in any library item that has been tagged with that Keyword. No, you can’t modify metadata in the datasheet view.

Is there a certain type of site template that is required for the managed metadata? Publishing site?

You can use managed metadata on any SharePoint 2010 site. The metadata service runs on the farm and the data can be accessed from any site.

When a user creates a keyword, is there any way to migrate it to an enterprise keyword?

The EMM infrastructure will sync the WSS Keyword field and the Enterprise Keyword field. For any edits done after the EMM feature is enabled.  If users have existing keywords in the WSS keywords field, you could write code that would populate the Enterprise Keyword. This would be similar to what SP2010 does for the user when a document containing tags is uploaded from the desktop.

Do terms have some unique ID to reference them? Or do they get reference by their “character sequence”? If yes, is this ID some UUID or just unique within one term store?

The Terms have UUID associated with them. But if for some reason you require to set your own IDs in order to match an external system you can set the ID via the Object Model.

Will you be demonstrating using taxonomies in InfoPath forms? MS told me they didn”t include connections to MMS in InfoPath.

Unfortunately InfoPath support of EMM fields is limited.

How do you deal with related document within a Metadata system? In a folder system you just put all related docs into one folder.

SP2010 has the concept of a document set. But you could also do it purely by metadata tags and Search/Filters. It would depend on the use case.

Can MM be used to allow a user to know a human-friendly name and selection return another different value? Such as a customer name to return/select a customer code?

You could use synonyms to implement this. Read about them here:

What about terms which fit into more than 1 hierarchy? Will these get copied into the different places (without any further reference on each other) or will it be just one term with one id referenced from different places in multiple hierarchies?

The term store allows for terms to be “reused” in multiple hierarchies. You can decide if they are copies of the term or the same term (same ID) with a different hierarchy or ancestral chain.

How does managed metadata support throw SharePoint Designer 2010 workflow?

There’s no easy way to access managed metadata from a workflow. A great place to get ideas for alternative solutions for your problem is on the TechNet forums

To what degree has MS made these metadata capabilities accessible from non-SharePoint infrastructures? Obviously, not all our content is in SharePoint.

The EMM service has a very rich and robust API that allows you read and write to the term store from external systems via custom code.

Why can”t we export the term set to an xml file? How can we do a multi-select using terms in a managed metadata field?

The EMM service has a very rich and robust API that allows you read and write to the term store from external systems via custom code. The metadata store can get very large and it wouldn’t always be practical to simple save as an XML file. You could implement various operations on items selected from metadata also using the API.

Can the managed metadata term set be maintained from a remote source? For example, company name is maintained in a CRM system. Is it possible to integrate so it is maintained only in its system of record?

This is possible; however you would need to write some custom code to maintain the data in sync.

If you already have a metadata repository, but want to use values from that repository in the metadata service and refresh them daily – how would you do that? Obviously you wouldn’t want to re-import a CSV files every day. Will SP understand that the daily life isn”t all new values? And only apply the changes?

This is possible; you would need to write some custom code to maintain the data in sync. Using the custom property infrastructure for EMM terms you could maintain a “last updated” time stamp in order to track what needs updating.

Does SP 2010 allow you to have different metadata for different versions of the same document? Or is it like 2007 where all versions share one set of metadata?

Metadata is not specific to a version of a document.

Can the terms within the term store be made dynamic? Specifically, we have a LOB system with customer names. I know I can create a BCS connection and use this as the source for authoritative customer list.

The only way would be for you to write some custom code that allows you to keep your terms in sync with an external source.

Are content type syndication and managed metadata dependent on the server publishing infrastructure?

In answer to your question: Yes.

Are there Whitepapers and best practices available for implementing metadata services?

Take a look at this section on TechNet describing planning for metadata:

When you added a metadata column for day of the week or webinar, is that column specific to the list or the content type? The values of the list column remain with the list/library – correct? To edit the value of an item, you do that to the list – correct?

Either way is possible. You could add it to the list of the content type. In my example for simplicity I added it to the list. In reality you would likely add it to the content type.

It sounds like the taxonomy mgr stores both id and text. Will enterprise search index both id and text? If a keyword”s text changes will this change be replicated to all documents tagged with that keyword?

If the text string of a term is changed all documents that use that term would show the new string after a short lag for the timer job to cleanup.

What is the best way to load, synchronize and manage terms from an external repository so that it can be used in SP in the managed metadata service?

The EMM service has a very rich and robust API that allows you read and write to the term store from external systems via custom code.

Is there a way for end users to suggest/tag synonyms of managed metadata without having modification access to the metadata hub and without allowing users to create new “terms”?

Yes. If a term set has an “Owner” then the tagging UI will show a link to “send feedback” which will be sent in the form of an email to the owner’s alias, be it a person or group.

How deep can you go when creating a managed data infrastructure?

Since these structures are stored in SQL, the actual limits are likely never to be reached by customer. But form a practical perspective, the UI will have scrolling and other issue after 6 or 8 levels of depth as a result of the width of the tree in some of the more compact UI in which it is displayed.  The term store supports a million items. No more than 1000 term set, with term set max Size around 30K nodes. You will need to decide which axis you want to max out.

Once the content type is published, can the subscribed site make changes to it? If yes, what will happen when additional changes to the content type are made in the content type hub site?

You can derive from the syndicated content type and extend it. Updates from the hub will only impact the columns and default that were sourced from the hub. The local extensions are preserved.

Describe how a metadata store can be managed by a site collection business user vs. centrally managed at the central admin level.

Metadata is managed at the site collection level. Any individual can use the web based interface to manage the store.

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