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Understanding Managed Metadata in SharePoint 2010: its Impact on Taxonomy, Navigation and Search - Part 1: Focusing on Managed Metadata, Term Store, Navigation and Search

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Note: We recently unearthed articles that were published on EndUserSharePoint's sister site EUSP2010 but were never migrated over to NothingButSharePoint. Over the next few weeks we'll be publishing these. The following article was originally published in June 2010.

Editor's note: Follow contributor Fabian Williams @fabianwilliams


First I would like to thank Wictor Wilén (MVP / Author / MCT / MCTS / MCP / MSc) out of Sweden who’s article Create SharePoint 2010 Managed Metadata with Excel 2010 was instrumental in speeding up the process of creating my Managed Metadata Term Store for both a live project and this blog. I would also like to thank Chris O’Brien (MVP) out of the UK, who’s article Managed Metadata in SharePoint 2010 – a key ECM enhancement really puts the value of Managed Metadata in perspective. The articles mentioned above is the foundation by which I build out a Lab which culminates Wictor and Chris’s work into a Business Case resulting in better Management of Site Columns, Content Types, Content Organizer Routing Rules, Taxonomy/Folksonomy Navigation and enhancements in Search.

Wictor may be found on Twitter here @Wictor and Chris’s Twitter handle is @ChrisO_Brien I follow them, I recommend you do the same if you are a Dev in SharePoint.

The Storyline

So, if you are a regular reader of my blogs, you already know that I try my very best to put some kind of Use/Business case or a story around the technology I am trying to showcase. This time my only difficulty was to take what I am actually doing in SharePoint 2010 Proof of Concept and replicate it in my Lab so it obscures the real work and the identity of the client. Not too hard right, just a lot of duplication of effort, but you know what they say about practice…

What we have here is a company called “Fabian Williams Enterprises” and it has offices in Jamaica and the United States, as an organization that supports its employees and earn a profit, it has the following departments:

  • HR
  • Sales
  • Marketing
  • Design
  • Consultants
  • PMO

These departments have documents that meet the following criteria:

  • May or may not be restricted to the the country of origin (HR Documents, Contracts, etc)
  • Project Specific Data (Civilian, Government, Technology Specific)
  • etc

As a company trying to be agile in this competitive marketplace, it strives to

  1. Leverage Corporate Memory to surface meaningful information for its employees
  2. Create a hierarchical structure for the organization and dissemination of information
  3. Increase Search responses and improve Search Relevance
  4. Allow its employees to Organically Grow the Enterprise Knowledge sharing capabilities of the company through Social and Collaborative means

What we are working with

Our Employees, SharePoint…


Above: AD OU with the Users in the company. Thanks to some of my colleagues who are always my guinea pigs here..


Above: User Profile configured and Imported



Above: The Actors

Step 1 – Configuring the Managed Metadata Service Application

So you maybe wondering why I showed you the items above; yeah, I like the nice pictures and silverlight addin but the real takeaway here is that Out of Box (OOB), The Managed Metadata Service already took information from your Active Directory and built keywords that in the end would reference the individuals above; all this without asking you one thing. Pretty cool huh.. look see…


Above: Central Administration Managed Metadata Page

Next I will begin the process of Adding myself and the Service Account I am logged in under (SPInstall) as Administrators with the requisite permission to manage this Service Application. By going to Central Admin, Application Management, Manage Service Application, Managed Metadata Service, clicking not on the word but on the bar next to the phrase, you can click in the ribbon a few options, first, Administrator


Above: The Administrator Dialog


Above: Permissions Dialog

Once you have done that, now you can create a new Group and then Term Stores within.


Above: Clicking on Managed Metadata Service will yield a dropdown where you can create a new Group, I will do that later but for now…

Wictor Wilen created a fantastic Macro that allows you to create a Term Store File or a Term Store Sheet


Above: the Ribbon Macros

In my example I created my organization layout as you would if you were going to a client and discussing Taxonomy. This is of course not something I would take to production but it give in one glace how you may layer Terms, Inherited Terms, etc, which will be consumed in Site Columns, aid Content Types, and so on and so on.. I made an error here below which I found out only after uploading it. It is not critical it is purely syntax but the result will do this (1) not permit me to use the SharePoint 2010 term and the other (2) is nothing inherits from Region


Above: Wictor Wilens’ Excel work on creating Managed Metadata Term Store get it here… Create SharePoint 2010 Managed Metadata with Excel 2010 once you are finished, by clicking “Create Term Store File” in the ribbon you get the text file (csv) which may be imported directly into the Managed Metadata Service Application.


Above: Resultant CSV File


Above: Now that we have a text file for our Managed Metadata, we

  1. Create a new Group “FabiansWorld”
  2. Import Term Set


Above: once you click Import you will navigate to the location of your csv file and Pull it in.

As a result you see below, your hierarchy created in the CSV file is represented below at the levels you determined in the spreadsheet.


Above: the newly imported Term Store and Tags

Below is an important point, that can be the unsung hero in ensuring that a company that:

  • is Multinational so its words have cultural differences
  • has ever changing terms or terms that are often deprecated
  • has its own lexicon which is not the same has industry or your partners

you can create Synonyms for those terms in the example below we have “SharePoint 2007” which also is “MOSS”. You simply just type in the labels and be on your way, this may not be the most efficient way to do this, so I suggest the API as you cant do it with the csv file. well not that I know of. Wictor?


Above: a synonym for the term “SharePoint” pointing to “MOSS”

Next, I wanted to show some of the configurables here, some that are particularly important are

  • Submission Policy [default is Closed], but I selected “Open”, this allows for the end users to build on this Taxonomy that is defined in the company; a term called Folksonomy . I strongly advocate this approach but it has to be managed otherwise you can get duplicates, bad terms, inappropriate terms LOL, etc, you know what I mean. As a coder, I would not shy away from this but I would put it under a list and use an event receiver after an approval workflow to persist it to the Taxonomy.


Above: Taxonomy and Folksonomy hand in hand.

Next I will create a few files and and upload them to my Document Center that I created.


Above: Various Files and File Types that can also be Content Types based on your Taxonomy.

Next I will NOT use my Managed Metadata as a Column in my Document Library, I will use OOB “Enterprise Metadata and Keywords Setting” which will allow me to use Tags from that Term Set but does not give me the ability to navigate and get to my terms. This shows that you can just use your Taxonomy and Folksonomy in OOB Library Settings


Above: Document Library in my Document Center with Enterprise Keywords added


Above: I added a document called “Code of Conduct” and I begin to type ‘Comm…” and all of a sudden I get Write Aheads with my terms pretty cool huh…

However (and I am not naming names here but he is my work colleague LMAO) had a blog where he did not see his Managed Metadata Terms when he went to the Navigations Settings for Metadata. That is by design, you MUST add a Metadata Column to your Library, and based on the level in the hierarchy that you choose you will get that top level and any child level in this pane below. If you dont do that, you will see what is evident below.


Above: Using “Metadata Navigation Settings” without adding a “Managed Metadata Column” will yield the above.

However if you create a column of type “Managed Metadata” and pick a level within your store…


Above: Column Name “FabianWorldTax_Folks_onomy” of type “Managed Metadata” is added to the library



Above: all the settings I choose. I deliberately choose (1) Required Field (2) Allow Multivalue

After you select “Ok”, now you have a column linked to your Taxonomy/Folksonomy in your Document Library / List


Above: the newly created column.

Now you are able to consume your Taxonomy and Folksonomy (if you permitted this) in the Navigation Settings and Filter Settings.


Above: Navigation Hierarchies and Filters may be used in this library now based on the Managed Metadata you crated.

The value here is NOT with the one or two document that I have in there now, but when you have Millions upon Millions of documents in this Library which may also be broken up in Partitioning Folders; here is away to filter or trim the noise from the data. Here is the money shot.


Above: Same process as before in the OOB example but this time I can click on the ‘Tag’ Link and get to seem my tree where I can now select meaningful information whereas I may not have known before.


Above: Click Save and you are on your way.

What you will notice below is that there are two documents and the Navigation tree is on the top level.


Above: Two docs showing at top level of Metadata Navigation

But what happens if I select “International” from the Navigation Tree…


Above: The result set is peered down [with NO POSTBACK mind you] to the result set I further defined.

How Search is also Impacted

The value here is that in the previous example you “hunted and pecked” to get what you wanted. Here I am going to do a search on

  • a Key Term in my Metadata or maybe I know that ‘Communications’ is in the document or tag for what I want.
  • I filter on a Taxonomy / Folksonomy term based on my search results to get a more granular result set.

Before I do that however, I need to do a crawl, see below…


Above: Crawling the Local SharePoint Sites

Here I am doing a search on the word ‘Communications’


Above: The result set comes back with two items. Both were tagged as a HR Communications Document based on my Managed Metadata

Next I do a search on ‘International’, here you go again…


Above: Another search with Hit Highlighting

Finally, I click the Navigation Aid in my Search Result set for International, Imagine if you had 10 pages of results, now you can peer it down as I did.


Above: Filter applied to my Search Result Set.


How can you not love this. So there are two value adds here

  1. Navigation is enhanced by the Managed Metadata
  2. Search is Refined by the Managed Metadata

Hope this was helpful, critique & comments welcomed…

Part 2 of 2 will focus on Managed Metadata and how it can be used to enrich “Content Organization” in SharePoint 2010

Categories: Managed Metadata Service; Taxonomy; Out of the Box; MOSS; WSS; 2010; SharePoint



Counting documents

Thank you for this helpfull article. Looking forward for part 2.
Question, do you known how to show numbers of documents in the left navigation pane? So that you can see how many documents are in a "folder" .

Posted 05-Feb-2013 by Arnoud
Suresh Pydi

Nice Post

Nice Post. Here is one more post Managed meta data configuration

Posted 15-Apr-2013 by Suresh Pydi

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