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2044RE: [TaxoCoP] taxonomies and metadata in sharepoint

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  • Marcia Morante
    Jun 1, 2007

      Although I don’t have the years of experience with Sharepoint that Mike has, I have a few points to add regarding MOSS 2007.  I’ve been using it intensively for my current project, and I will go out on a limb and say that taxonomy support is non-existent out of the box.


      A site cannot make use of a taxonomy, either for browsing a hierarchy of terms or for supporting search (filtering, clustering, etc.). 


      Microsoft has added a couple of features to the search capability (best bets, spell checking), but it has failed to provide for some of the old standbys, such as term stemming and searching within a result set.  Without the latter, there’s no way to “refine” a set of search results. 


      Although MOSS can use metadata for advanced searching and supports controlled vocabularies for individual properties (metadata fields), there is no way to use a hierarchical structure.


      Wish I had better news.





      Marcia Morante

      KCurve, Inc.

      Content Strategies for the Web

      (718)881-5915 - o

      (917)821-2087 - m


      From: TaxoCoP@yahoogroups.com [mailto:TaxoCoP@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Gardner, Mike
      Sent: Friday, June 01, 2007 4:08 AM
      To: TaxoCoP@yahoogroups.com
      Subject: RE: [TaxoCoP] taxonomies and metadata in sharepoint


      I work for EDS and have a lot of experience with working with SharePoint and taxonomy and metadata management for the last 4-5 years. We have rolled out SharePoint internally and have around 250 site collections used by well over 50,000 folk, which allow EDS to share it's knowledge internally across the globe. My role has been as the taxonomist for this roll out.


      The first thing I would say is that SharePoint is by no means the perfect tool for managing taxonomies and metadata, but it can be made to be very effective with a little thought and some additional capabilities. The key things to bear in mind are:

      1) SharePoint manages each library and list separately so when you have a set of metadata to manage centrally across multiple libraries this can be a problem. MOSS provides a partial answer to this with the introduction of site columns which allow you to manage metadata at a site level. However, if you have multiple site collections (as we do), then this is still a problem in MOSS. We have got around this by writing a fairly simple tool that allows us to manage metadata centrally in a SharePoint site and cascade changes across all the sites easily. It also allows us to change metadata associated with documents and easily see in which libraries and lists a particular metadata field is used. There are other tools in the market place that do this sort of thing, like SchemaLogic.

      2) There is no relationship between metadata terms in SharePoint. Thus, if you have a business hierarchy of terms such as Industry and Industry Segment, then this cannot easily be linked in SharePoint. So the user has to add both values separately which can result in inconsistencies.

      3) The search capabilities do integrate well with the metadata (we have done a little coding around this to enable each site to only see the metadata terms they use on their site, and to create drop down lists based on our valid set of metadata) and have enabled us to use metadata search on many sites. 

      4) There is no history maintained of metadata values in SharePoint, so if you delete a value it is gone. This can cause some problems as you may want to provide the users with a list of valid values, preventing them from adding old values, but you may want documents to retain the old value that was originally created. If you come to then edit that document for another field you find you are forced to remove the old value.

      5) Delegation can be a problem, in that there is no easy way to retain control of metadata on a site centrally, and provide the users with the ability to manage web parts on their site. Currently we have kept control of all metadata centrally and thus forced users to make changes through our central group. We are changing this policy as we migrate to MOSS 2007.


      We also use SharePoint to manage an integrated lexicon and thesaurus (as well as the metadata) in one large SharePoint list. This has proved effective in standardizing terminology and ensuring we always have definitions for our metadata. 


      We are currently in the process of implementing MOSS 2007. We have already looked at many of the metadata aspects of MOSS 2007 and while features like Site Columns help, they don't radically change the underlying problems unless you are looking at a fairly small implementation of SharePoint in one site collection.  


      The comments above are trying to highlight the negative side of things, but the tool has enabled us to implement an effective set of metadata across the enterprise and enable users to create saved searches, alerts on those searches, views of content, all based around this metadata. SharePoint has allowed us to implement well over 1,500 sites within 250 different site collections and maintain a consistent set of metadata.


      If you want to go in to more details, have any specific questions, let me know.

      Mike Gardner
      EDS CIO EKM Team - EDS Taxonomist & Content Rationalization Leader
      Telephone: +44 (0) 1332 227367 (Hudson House) - Mon
      +44 (0)1332 663964 (Home Office) - Tue - Fri
      Mobile: +44 (0)7790 492991
      Hudson House, Derby, UK
      micheal.gardner@ eds.com


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      Electronic Data Systems Ltd
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      From: TaxoCoP@yahoogroups .com [mailto:TaxoCoP@ yahoogroups. com] On Behalf Of nukina_d
      Sent: 31 May 2007 20:19
      To: TaxoCoP@yahoogroups .com
      Subject: [TaxoCoP] taxonomies and metadata in sharepoint

      I was wondering if anyone is using Sharepoint 2007 in your
      organization and what is your experince on taxonomy and metadata
      management in MOSS.

      Would appreciate very much if you share any ideas.



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