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Best Practices for Working With the Term Store for SharePoint Server 2013

Microsoft provides a set of best practices for users who will need to Plan terms and term sets in SharePoint Server 2013. The “Plan: now or later” section of this article presents an understanding that SharePoint Administrators, Developers, Architects and other power users will likely ” . . . start without any term sets and merely let users add enterprise keywords to items. As the set of enterprise keywords grows, you will probably want to organize it in some way to make finding and disambiguating keywords easier. . . ”

It should be noted that while “enterprise keywords” are managed with the Term Store, they are, nevertheless, not to be confused with terms and term sets. In fact, enterprise keywords ” . . . are merely words or phrases that were added to SharePoint items. All enterprise keywords are part of a single, non-hierarchical term set that is named the keyword set.” (quoted from Overview of managed metadata in SharePoint Server 2013)

Best practices for working with the Term Store for SharePoint 2013 includes the importance of maintaining an awareness of governance if an attempt to organize enterprise information into a form that can be serviced via the Term Store is to be successful. For example, in the section of Plan terms and term sets in SharePoint Server 2013 that broadly presents 4 key steps that must be taken in order to successfully design terms and term sets, the second step, “Identify the owner of each term set” speaks to governance. After all, including metadata that can be used to specifically identify information owners will likely be useful in any heavily regulated organization. These regulated organizations must comply with reporting requirements that usually include specific detail and procedures on a department by department basis.

This TechNet article includes sample materials for working groups in the form of two Excel workbooks: a term sets worksheet and a term set details worksheet. We note that the latter worksheet, term set details worksheet, includes examples that provide three levels of hierarchical detail, description text, availability and synonyms. With these examples it should be possible for groups within an enterprise to engage productively in an effort to plan terms and term sets. In our opinion, the term set details worksheet is informative for personnel who can benefit from a simple presentation of the design of a taxonomy, as well as a demonstration of how to practically implement such a design.

We should also note that the section of this article that discusses how users can Determine term set groups makes an important connection very clear to the reader: specifically, that “[a] term set group is a security boundary.” Once users understand this reason for implementing term set groups, then the overall security of an information repository built on SharePoint 2013 should become that much clearer.

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