I'm finally getting reorganized after my week in Las Vegas for the SharePoint conference. Today in the blog, I thought I would cover the new Managed Metadata Services in more detail, because as far as I'm concerned this is the most important new feature in SharePoint 2010.
Managed Metadata Services will provide enterprise management of metadata terms and content types for SharePoint 2010. This will allow organizations to share metadata taxonomies and terms across multiple SharePoint webs and site collections. In addition, Microsoft is finally allowing content types to be shared across webs and site collections using the same service. This will provide a much more unified view of data across the organization. Different departments or groups may have their own site collections for managing their SharePoint application, but everyone in the organization can be using common content types and metadata. This will make unified search and retention across the organization much simpler as common terms can be used to search from data across the enterprise.
Managed Metadata Services will be a huge leap for the management of metadata, and will enable powerful search and filters in SharePoint 2010. But this is just the beginning of the need to manage metadata across the enterprise. Managing metadata in SharePoint is great, but what about metadata generated in desktop applications, or metadata generated on file shares? Enterprises really need to get a common view of data across all of their repositories whether on the user desktop, a server share or SharePoint. Microsoft is moving to allow management of metadata on the file share with the new File Classification Infrastructure in Windows Server 2008. At some point I think we will see a more unified and consistent metadata approach to file shares and SharePoint by Microsoft. At Titus Labs we are also doing our part. Our classification / metadata tagging tools for Microsoft Outlook and Office can be easily integrated into a common enterprise metadata approach. Via the Titus Labs administration tools it is possible to define a taxanomy hierarchy equivalent to what can be defined in the Managed Metadata Services. This will allow users creating email and documents on the desktop to tag their information in the same way as SharePoint will allow with Managed Metadata Services. So as documents flow around the enterprise from the desktop to SharePoint they will carry a common metadata tagging approach.
So how does the Managed Metadata Service function? Microsoft refers to the Managed Metadata service as a "term" store. A term is a word or phrase that can be associated with an item in SharePoint 2010. And a term set is a collection of related terms. There are two types of terms in SharePoint 2010:
- Managed terms - these terms are usually pre-defined by an enterprise administrator. Managed terms can be organized into a hierarchy and can be selected by users via the new "managed metadata" column type. When a column of this type is defined the user will be allowed to select the metadata from the set of pre-defined managed terms.
- Managed keywords - these are words or phrases that have been added to SharePoint 2010 items. Keywords are often used in more ad-hoc folksonomies where the user is allowed to tag an item with whatever keywords they believe are appropriate. Keywords are never represented in a hierarchy. Many SharePoint 2010 content types have a Managed keyword column by default, administrators don't need to explicitly add it.
Microsoft allows organizations to create one or more managed metadata services. In addition a SharePoint web application caqn have connections to multiple managed metadata services and the connection can be local or remote. Microsoft provides the following example where an organization has created three managed metadata services, one global for the whole organization, one specific to the product development organization, and one specific to the legal department. Each department has its own SharePoint web with multiple site collections. The departments have connected their web application to multiple metadata services so they can use the global terms as well as their own local terms. For example the product department is connected to the Global store as well as to their own Products Managed Metadata store.
That's all for today. Talk to you later this week.