Have you ever analyzed objects and people around you? If so, then you have surely noticed that everything that surrounds you is unique. Even if things look the same, their properties are usually different. In humans, characteristics such as eye colour, hair length and height are specific to each person, forming each person’s individuality. Such differences can be used to identify and differentiate animals, plants, books, documents, etc.
SharePoint depicts this identification principle of nature with the help of managed metadata. What is metadata? Basically, metadata is information about information. When a file has “disappeared” and seems untraceable, metadata comes into play. They simplify and shorten the search effort considerably. For example, instead of searching for keywords, you can simply set filters for properties such as “author” or “product group” and get much better search results. But that’s not the only benefit of managed metadata. Read this blog post for more details and benefits.
To better understand how metadata is created, used, and managed, it is first necessary to review terminology and definitions.
Terminology storage – management tool: control, maintain and secure your data
Microsoft’s Term Store Management Tool gives your company the ability to manage your taxonomies, term sets and terms. The biggest advantage of this tool is the classification of information that can later be used as metadata in SharePoint lists or libraries.
Too many unfamiliar terms? Don’t worry, they’ll be explained next.
Taxonomy: classification system of data in SharePoint
Taxonomy is the classification process that arranges files grouped within a hierarchy. The person responsible for managing the taxonomy records all terms, words and designations relevant to your company under the term sets (term sets) and expressions (terms).
A group maps a set of term sets. To manage or create new term sets, the user must have Contributor permissions for the specific group. The groups should have clear access or security requirements, such as a group type (local or global), Group Managers, or Contributors.
To create a new group, you must right-click on the selected term and select the New Group box. Then name the group and fill out the properties. Finally, click on “Save”.
Term sets are terms that belong to a group. These terms can be applied both locally and globally. Local term sets are created in the context of a site collection and can only be used by users who have access to that site collection. Global term sets can be applied to all site collections. To create a new term set, select the group to which the term set should be assigned. Right-click the selected group and select New Term Set. Name it and fill out the properties. Click Save to save the created term set.
An expression or term is a specific word or phrase that has been associated with an item on a SharePoint site. Each expression is assigned an ID and several text labels. To create a new term, select the term set to assign the term to. Right-click the selected term set and select New Term. Name it and fill out the properties. Click on “Save” to save the created expression. In addition, it is also possible to copy an expression to another expression set, to reuse the expressions, or to move them.
Outside of the predefined and complex taxonomy, each organization has what is known as a folksonomy, which is an informal classification system. Every day, the words and terms used are collected and stored in the Folksonomy. In this way, the knowledge and expertise of the employees is automatically shared within the organization. When there is a folksonomy in the organization, it is possible to refine information daily by tag. In this way, even better search results are achieved.
Add metadata to SharePoint items
After the taxonomy has been defined, metadata can be captured in SharePoint. First, a new column should be added in the library settings called “Managed Metadata”.
In the Term Set Settings section, the term set should be selected whose terms are to be made available for selection in this column:
The new columns with the metadata are now displayed in the element properties. The metadata of the corresponding element can be selected here.
To do this, click the tag icon on the right and select an expression from the list:
After clicking on “Select”, confirm your selection by clicking on “OK”. The metadata is then displayed in the SharePoint list.
How does managed metadata streamline document management?
Using Managed Metadata increases the quality of your document management significantly. In addition, the productivity of your employees is increased. We will show you some other concrete advantages below.
Better findability of information
Searching within SharePoint is made easier through the use of managed metadata. The new filter options give users improved and clearer search results. This saves you time when searching for documents and information. In addition, the search results are clearer overall and documents with the same metadata can be found in no time at all.
In the following figure, the possibilities and potential of the filters in the filter area become clear. With the help of the search filter, the search results can be further narrowed down and refined. For example, in which “Company A” or properties such as the product type, the author or the project in question are selected.
In addition, keywords are automatically read out by the system and the relevant metadata is extracted. If you enter the first letters in the search bar, possible keywords (metadata) are already displayed in a dropdown menu:
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The requirements of your company sometimes change on a daily basis. In order to do justice to this, administrators need a reliable and intuitive tool to keep metadata up to date. The Term Store Management Tool allows for easy and automatic updating of the term sets in the SharePoint lists or libraries, even with changes in the taxonomy. Multiple synonyms can be defined for a term in the term properties, and when the user searches for a synonym, the results for the defined term are displayed. Multilingualism for expressions is also supported, allowing searches in one language and results in all other available languages.
Automated tagging of files
Automated tagging of files, documents, images and information with metadata is a solution made possible by using artificial intelligence. After uploading or creating a document, it is checked using various analysis methods and then automatically filled with appropriate metadata.
Requirement for metadata creation
In order to benefit from the advantages of managed metadata in the best possible way, files must be carefully analyzed and a correct taxonomy must be created. It is best to define these in consultation with employees to ensure that metadata is filled regularly and correctly.
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