SharePoint How-To Series: Managed Metadata

SharePoint How-To Series: Managed Metadata

Term Store allows you to add a centrally managed set of values that can be reused within various places in a SharePoint site.

In our last two posts we have spent time looking at core building blocks of SharePoint--namely, Content Types and Site Columns.

These components are the basic building blocks for all the solutions you want to build in SharePoint, from simple lists and libraries to complex publishing solutions such as a public-facing website. Older versions of SharePoint lacked the ability to define a corporate taxonomy that could be used across internal and external solutions built within SharePoint. With SharePoint version 2010 and later, this feature is available to use.

It's important to first understand some core terms and concepts.

Taxonomy: A taxonomy is a hierarchical classification of words, labels or terms that are organized into groups based on similarities. A taxonomy may be defined and centrally managed by one or more individuals.

Folksonomy: A folksonomy is a classification in which users collaboratively apply words, labels or terms to content on a site. A folksonomy-based approach to metadata can be useful because it taps the knowledge and expertise of site users and content creators, and it enables content classification to evolve with the users’ changing business needs and interests.

Term set: A term set is a group of related terms. Depending on where a term set is created, its scope can be local or global. Term sets can be configured to be closed, which means that users cannot add new terms when they are entering a value for a column that is mapped to the term set, or they can be configured to be open, which means that users can add new terms to the term set when they are updating the value for a column that is mapped to the term set.

Term: A term is an individual item within a term set, and it is a specific word or phrase that can be associated with an item in a SharePoint site. A term has a unique ID, and it can have many different text labels (synonyms). If you are working on a multilingual site, it can also have labels in different languages.

There are two types of terms:

  1. Managed terms: Managed terms are typically pre-defined and organized into a hierarchical term set by a Term Store Administrator or another person with permissions to work with managed metadata.
  2. Enterprise keywords: An enterprise keyword is a word or phrase that is added to items on a SharePoint site. Enterprise keywords are organized into a single, non-hierarchical term set within the Term Store Management Tool called the Keywords set. Because users can typically add any word or phrase to an item as a keyword, enterprise keywords can be used for folksonomy-style tagging. Term Store administrators, or other individuals with permission to manage metadata, can opt to move keywords out of the Keywords term set and into a specific managed term set, at which point the keywords will become available within the context of a specific term set. Term store administrators can also opt to make the Keywords set closed, so that users cannot submit new keywords and are restricted to the use of existing keywords.

Group: Groups define security boundaries. A group is a set of term sets that all share common security requirements. Only users who are designated as contributors to a specific group can manage term sets that belong to the group or create new term sets within it. Organizations should create unique groups for term sets that will have unique access or security needs

Now that we know the key terminologies lets look at the Term Store itself. To access it you can either go via “Central Administration,” click “Service Applications” and access the “Managed Metadata Service.”

The second option is from the site collection you are in click “Site Settings,” and then underneath the “Site Administration” category choose “Term Store Management”.

When the Term Store Management tools loads you will see the following sections--one for searching the Terms, the Term Set and Term Structure, and then the administration or configuration for the node you have selected. Initially the configuration that is displayed first is root “Managed Metadata Service” itself.

If we click on the sub node called People, which is classed as a “Group,” the options change to the following:

Clicking further down, expanding on "People” will display the “Term Sets,” which when selected change the display again.

Notice at this level, not only are their properties such as name, owner and submission policy, but there are also other menu items listed such as “Intended Use." Clicking this option allows you to set the “Term Set” as “Available for Tagging” or to be used as part of the Navigation.

This is important to understand as this now opens the door for global navigation across the site collection boundary that we did not have before. As you can see, the “Term Sets” within the “People” group don’t have any “Terms” that could be used. So to start we will create a new “Group," a “Term Set” and then some “Terms.”

Now we have created a “Group,” “Term Set” and some “Terms.”

We also have the ability to create nested terms from within the parent terms. This provides granular control and the ability to define deep structures for these values.

In order for someone to have the ability to create these types of items they will need the right permissions. Setting these permissions is done within the Term Store Management tool, with someone who has the higher-level permissions needed to assign the role.

The permissions matrix is as follows.

Setting these permission is done by simply using the permission control within each level.

There is also a different user role that doesn't really have anything to do with permissions. This role is “Stake Holder,” which can be allocated to a Term to specify who is responsible and who should be informed of changes at this level.

So, all in all, the Term Store allows you to add a centrally managed set of values that can be reused within various places in a SharePoint site.

In our final post we will take it a step further and start to use these values within our content types to create what I like to call “Enhanced Content Types."

Don’t forget the upcoming webinar on SharePoint for Beginners, where we will cover even more. You can register using this link:

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