Using Enterprise Content Types and Managed Taxonomies in SharePoint 2010

These are some notes from a REALLY great session today at the SharePoint Conference 2009 in Las Vegas delivered by Daniel Kogan, the Metadata Service Program Manager at Microsoft.  Lots of good, detailed information here.  The notes are as organized as I can make them while I’m sitting here in the room, but they will of course not be as polished as I’d like them to be.  I’ve decided to err on the side of more information – less polish.

Our content types are now free to roam throughout the enterprise!  We also now get the ability to standardize and manage our meta-data tagging easily across different content types, usage scenarios, and storage locations.  Now, tags can be hierarchical just like your site or folder structure.  They can also be localized by language.

There are several questions we need to consider when we begin to contemplate this type of standardization.  They are similar concerns to what we had to consider when planning content types and site columns within a site collection, but obviously the issues can be far more complex when the scope increases across the enterprise.

Is it the same?

Does this have the same structure, policies, defaults everywhere in the enterprise?  Are things of content type “A” always the same?

What is it?

Do I trust it, recognize it?

Where is it?

Searching, navigating…

What happens to it?

Retention, workflow…



Hub – A site collection designated as a “souce” from which we share content types

CT Syndication – Publishing, sharing, pushing one or more content types across site collection, web app, and farm boundaries

Taxonomy – a hierarchical tree

Folksonomy – informal flat list of adhoc values

Term Store – DB that contains taxonomies

Groups – a security boundary within the term store and above the term set

Term set – a hierarchical section in the term store that contains many individual terms – e.g. Months, or Regions. (max 1000 total per store)

Term – a node in the taxomy with an ID and many text labels (30,000 per term set, max 1million total)

Tagging – applying metadata to an item (authoritative or social)

Keywords – not just a text string, a reference to a node in the hierarchical term store.  This is particularly powerful, standardizing tags for future use.  As you enter keywords, a suggestion list displays showing the entries in the hierarchy.


Content Type Syndication

  • Each Metadata Service app can publish through a maximum of 1 hub
  • It is not a requirement to syndicate or consume from the service
  • Content Type with all corresponding columns, policies, and workflow association
  • From the hub, you can publish, unpublish, republish, and roll up errors
  • From the consuming side you can extend, derive, view errors, refresh from the hub

If you are working on the service in Central Admin, it is created with whatever name you like – configuring where the hub site collection is.  Then a connection service is used to consume from the original service.

If you are working in the hub, you can simply go to the Content Type gallery, click the type and choose to Manage publishing…  In the background, the Metadata Service creates a cab file that is versioned.  So the consuming web apps, site collections, and farms can check regularly for new versions of subscribed content types.

On the consuming side, it shows up like a normal content type – but it’s read-only.

Applying Metadata

Web Browser – Edit Properties, by a business process, location-based (inherit by virtue of where it is stored)

Rich Client – DIP, Backstage (Office menu > Info).  The Office client fetches the term set when it opens the document, so that recently added terms are available.

Once the meta-data has been entered using the term store, the column headings AND left-hand navigation displays the tag taxonomy as a means of filtering or pivoting the library listing.  If that doesn’t create a mental picture for you, it’s kind of like automatic, faceted, dynamic folder trees based on tags.

Managed Metadata columns are like a ‘super choice’ field that looks up in the hierarchical term store and filters exclusively or inclusively.  The user can even add entries to an ‘open term set’, while ‘closed term sets’ are owned by someone and closed to others.

Managed Keyword columns are like a ‘super text’ field where the user can type, and they are given suggestions from the term store.  If their entry doesn’t exist, the system will add it automatically.


The Term Store Management Tool

You find this at Home > Site Settings > Site Administration > Term Store Management

This tool allows you to access  all available term stores, to copy, reuse, merge, delete… individual terms.  Merges ripple through all the millions of documents that use them, and the two are now synonyms of each other (including any natural abbreviations).

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