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SharePoint 2010 Taxonomies are a Natural Complement to a Governance Plan

Rehmani Consulting, Inc. offers several suites of video training on advanced technical topics for SharePoint 2010. A complete list of these sets is available on SharePoint-Videos dot com. In this series of blog posts we are re-examining our video training set on Managing SharePoint 2010 Taxonomies. In this second post to the series we look further at Microsoft’s presentation of a governance structure for SharePoint 2010, and, specifically, where taxonomy is places within the structure.

On May 12, 2010 Microsoft’s Technet MSDN web site published an entry on the governance features of SharePoint Server 2010. As this entry notes, “Microsoft SharePoint Server 2010 includes features that an organization can use to help govern a SharePoint Server 2010 IT service, an enterprise’s information management, or an enterprise’s information architecture. Links to related articles can help you plan and use each feature.” (quoted from this entry, for which a link has been provided).

SharePoint 2010 Taxonomy is discussed in this entry, within the section devoted to SharePoint Server 2010 Features that apply to Information Architecture. As noted in this entry, ” . . . [a] well-governed architecture makes information in the enterprise easy to find, share, and use.” (ibid) It is important to note that this section of the entry does not include specific mention of SharePoint taxonomy beyond the heading, itself, “Taxonomy and managed metadata”. Certainly, this entry implies that managed metadata is, itself, a taxonomy. In fact, managed metadata is defined as “a hierarchical collection of centrally managed terms that you can define and then use as attributes for items in Microsoft SharePoint Server 2010. A user’s role determines how the user can work with managed metadata.” (ibid) Any “hierarchical collection” that can be used to organize categories of words, or other written information is a type of taxonomy. In fact, this definition for managed metadata does not include mention of categories. Nevertheless, we think that categories are implied by the fact that, within the concept of managed metadata, and, specifically, the Term Store, different terms are intended to be used to manage and govern different types of information.

The Software Engineering Institute at Carnegie Mellon University, here in the United States, has defined “Enterprise Information System Data Architecture” (which we take to be synomymous with “enterprise information architecture” as this concept is used in the TechNet MSDN entry just discussed). This group “Data architecture defines how data is stored, managed, and used in a system. It establishes common guidelines for data operations that make it possible to predict, model, gauge, and control the flow of data in the system.” If this definition is tenable, then it is clear that applying SharePoint taxonomy to enterprise information architecture is a very rich method of managing information and establishing governance over the whole process of using systems as data repositories, organizing the data they store, and, finally, interpreting the implications of data given the objectives of implementing SharePoint Server 2010 in the first place.

If your organization would like to further explore the benefits that may be realized through a useful implementation of SharePoint 2010 taxonomies as dictated by a governance plan, you may want to speak with us. You may either telephone us at +1 630-786-7026, or send us a message. We will be sure to reach you promptly.

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