Archive: Out of the Box Content Management Options in SharePoint

This was originally written in August 2012.  It is being re-posted here for archival purposes

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Content Management is one of the most critical items that you can plan for when creating your SharePoint site.   A SharePoint with a lot of outdated content negatively affects performance, storage, backup/restore, search results and usability.  Using a process that will remove outdated content from your end-user’s view will make it easier to find the most current and relative content easier.

In order to get active content to no longer be visible to readers of your site, SharePoint 2010 offers the following options out of the box:

Scheduling Start Date and Scheduling End Date

These out of the box fields allow you to determine when your end-users will be able to view content that you have published to your site.   You must have versioning, approval and publishing features turned on.

Scheduling Start Date:  The options are to start Publishing Immediately or to set a date when the content should be published.  When a page is approved for publication, but the publishing start date is in the future, the site sets the content’s status to “Scheduled”.   When the start date arrives, the page status changes from “Scheduled” to “Approved”.

If you have no published versions of the page, this is a great way to create content and publish it later.  However, if you have a published version and set this field to a date after <Today>, the content will no longer be available to the end user until that date…in other words, you cannot schedule an update to existing content.

Scheduling End Date:  On this date the content becomes a draft of the major publishing view with a version of published version number +.1.  The content can no longer be viewed by readers.

The Pros:

  • Allows you to complete the content in advance and pre-schedule when users will be able to view it
  • Automatically removes the content from user’s view without further action from the publisher

The Cons:

  • Only available with Pages, Document Libraries and certain lists.
  • End users will no longer have access to content past the “Scheduling End Date”
  • If you change the “Scheduling Start Date” for a published version, users will no longer be able to view any version of the document until the “Scheduling Start Date”
  • To change a Publishing Start or Publishing End date, you must check out the content, make the update, publish and approve.

o   Changing a document property changes the status to “Draft” and creates a new minor version.

Disposition Workflow:

This is an out of the box workflow that will only allow a user to choose whether the system should delete a piece of content or not to delete it.

The workflow can be configured to start automatically when content expires or started manually by authorized users.    In order to set an expiration date for automatically starting the workflow, you must use the Information Management Policy Settings to tell the site when the page expires.   More information about these settings are below.

The workflow will create an administrative task for review.  Individual tasks are not assigned and cannot send a notification based on “Assigned To”.  These tasks are able to be modified in large groups at once.   The workflow also includes bulk task completion so that individuals can process large numbers of items for deletion in one step.

ContentImage1-Workflow_Task

The options are to “Delete this item”, or “Do not delete this item”, which will leave the content in place.

In order to use this feature, it must be turned on by a site administrator.

The Pros:

  • Automated way to manage content
  • Content is permanently deleted from your site

The Cons:

  • No accountability – tasks are not assigned to any one person so it is a process that must be manually managed
  • No history – workflow tasks are deleted upon completion and no record of them exist
  • Content is immediately and permanently deleted from your site, along with the task and any comments a user may have entered when deleting the item – it does not go into any recycle bin.

o   Note:  If Auditing is enabled, this item would appear on the audit log

  • This workflow cannot be customized.
  • If you choose not to delete an item, the workflow will show that the item was run, but the task will be deleted, losing any comments.
  • This workflow does not show up in the “Site Workflows” view.

Information Management Policies

An Information Management Policy is a fancy way of saying “a set of rules for content to determine how long it should live on your server and what should happen to it after a certain amount of time”.   Policies are applied to Content Types and can be applied at the parent site level, a child site level or at a list level.   Each Content Type can have its own set of policies.

It is a best practice to define retention policies as a part of a governance plan.  Retention policies should be defined in order to maintain a healthy server over a long period of time.   Additional reasons for Information Management policies include some government rules and regulations or legal reasons.

A well-managed retention policy will allow you to determine what will happen to different content types based on rules that you can set up at the parent level and apply to the entire site collection.

Information Management polices include:

Auditing

Auditing logs events and operations that affect list items.  You can configure which of the following items you want the system to audit:

  • Item Edits
  • Item Views
  • Items Checked In or Checked Out
  • Permissions changed on an item
  • Document deletion

Access to the audit log is tightly restricted. Only administrators (or users who are granted sufficient privileges) are able to view the audit history, using Microsoft Office Excel-based reports. And no user can selectively edit or delete individual audit entries.

Retention

The “Enable Expiration” feature in 2007 has been upgraded to “Enable Retention”.  Many new features are included with the upgrade, such as allowing different stages of retention that you want to manage, allowing you to determine new actions and the ability to repeat the process until the next stage is reached.

Policies can be set up at a Site Collection level, a Site Level or a list level.  The Site Administrator can control at which level policies set up.

You can set the start date based on any date field contained in the content type.  For example, it could be 365 days after the default “Created” date or 20 days after a manually created “Review” date.   Unless an administrator sets up a custom expiration formula on the server that you have access to, the formula for determining the date will always be <Date> + # <days, months or years>.

ContentImage2-Retention

The Retention Actions available are

  • Move to Recycle Bin
  • Permanently Delete
  • Transfer to another location
  • Start a workflow
  • Skip to next stage
  • Declare a record
  • Delete previous drafts
  • Delete all previous versions

You can schedule how often an item goes through its current retention stage, based on days, months or years.

Some Noteworthy Retention Actions:

Start a Workflow (This can be used to start off an out of the box or custom workflow)

You can tell the site to start an out of the box workflow, or a custom workflow that is designed to do what you want it to do, including but not limited to:

  • Route the document to content owner to determine what should happen to the content when it reaches a certain date
  • Automatically change the item’s metadata

Declare a record

In place records management is a new feature that allows you to keep a document where it currently lives, but declare it a record.   In 2007, you had to move the document to a records site.   Some of the in-place records feature include:

o   You can apply different retention policies based on if is a record or not

o   Permissions do not change

  • You must have at least “Contribute” access to declare a record and the administrator must set up the ability for contributors to declare a record.
  • Viewers will still be able to view content that is declared a record unless access to the document is changed.

o   Declaring an item as a record does not affect versions

o   Collaboration site administrators can manage Record Declaration Properties:

Record Restrictions:

ContentImage3-Record_Restrictions

– No Additional settings: Authorized users can still edit records.

– Block Delete: Records can be edited by authorized users but not edited.

– Block Edit and Delete:  Once content is marked as a record, it cannot be modified until a user “undeclares” it as a record.

  • All options in the ribbon and edit menus  for edit/delete are disabled
  • Record Declaration Availability:

ContentImage4-Record_Availability

  • Declaration Roles: Who can declare or undeclared records

ContentImage5-Record_Roles

o   Manual record declaration can be configured on Site Collection level and overridden in each document library by authorized users.

o   After the content is declared as a record, it can have policies and restrictions that differ from the same content type that is not a record. The policies are added to either the Content Types at the parent, or they can be added directly on the document libraries.

o   The page or document has the following notification on it for editors that have the ribbon showing.  It does not appear if the ribbon is hidden.

o   Custom Workflows can be used to declare an item as a record

o   “Declared Record” property = Date/time the item was declared a record.

o   Views can be configured to exclude records or to only include them for an all-archived view.

  • Filters can be based on “Declared Record” = Blank for active events
  • For the Active view, filter on Declared Record equal to [blank] (as in don’t enter a value for the field). For the All Records view, set the filter on Declared Record not equal to [blank].

o   Declaring content as a “Record” does not change the page status.

o   The content is checked out to “System Account”

ContentImage6-Record_Status

o   You can start a workflow on a “Record”, but the actions will be based on the Record Restrictions set by the Administrator

To Undeclare a record, go to compliance Details and click “Undeclare Record”

ContentImage7-Record_Undeclare

NOTE:  If you declare a record multiple times, you will need to “undeclare it” the same number of times for it to no longer be listed as a record.  The timestamp will change each time you undeclare it if you declared it at different times.

When you undeclare a record, it removes the banner from the top and the date in the “Declared Record” property.

The Pros:

  • Automated way to archive content
  • Views are easy to create and change as needed
  • Different content types can follow different rules
  • Same content types can follow different rules based on if they are records or not
  • Site collection administrator can determine who can declare or undeclared records separately
  • Does not affect versioning
  • Any content can be turned into a record

The Cons:

  • All web parts and views must be filtered to exclude records
  • The yellow status bar text for a record isn’t the most user-friendly

Search Scopes still need to be determined.  However, if we cannot create a search scope on these properties, we can still include a “Status” field for search scopes

You will need to turn on In-Place Record Management feature in Site Collection Administrators to use this function.

To complete the list Information Management Policy feature, also available when setting up a policy:

Barcodes

This feature will automatically allow you to create barcodes for each piece of content.   This is most commonly used when for printing and attaching to an item for storage.

Labels

Labels can be applied when a document is printed.  Labels can include metadata about the content, with the exception of any calculated fields or built-in field, such as “CreatedBy”.

Archive: SharePoint Saturday Austin Wrap Up

This article was originally written in January 2012.  It is being reposted here as an archive.

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SharePoint Saturday Austin (#SPSAusTx) was a fantastic event!

In the last year I have been to 8 SharePoint events and I have to say this was the best that I have been to, and not just because this was my first time being a presenter J. I am an extremely strong supporter of these free community events and have written about my top 5 reasons you should attend a SharePoint Saturday.

I’ll try not to be long winded…so in honor of the Women of SharePoint Panel held at this event…I’ll bullet point the reasons why (not in any particular order, they are all #1’s):

  • The Facility – The AT&T Conference Center was beautiful, clean and well organized. The sleeping rooms were fantastic and the meeting rooms were the perfect size to accommodate the large number of attendees.
  • The Food – The smorgasbord included healthy alternatives, Texas treats, sandwich stuff, salads, soups, yummy desserts way too much to mention everything. It was beautifully presented and I believe the best buffet I’ve ever had.
  • The Weather – yes, it really stank that some of the best speakers got snowed in but it was 7 degrees when I left Chicago and 70 when I got to Austin, so that makes it on this list, sorry Christian Buckly (@buckleyplanet) and Dux Raymond Sy (@meetdux) you were missed and I look forward to seeing you at the next event!
  • The Organization – Jim Bob Howard (@jbhoward) and Matthew Lathrop (@MatthewRAX) did a fantastic job period!  When you add the last minute pulling-in resources to replace the speakers that Snowpocalypse kept away, it was just amazing. They claimed there were other issues, but they hid them well because I can’t think of anything that wasn’t right.
  • The Entertainment – Austin is a great town with some great entertainment…when you add a bunch of SharePoint geeks in there…I just can’t think of anything better!
  • The Networking / Social Aspects – There was a great assortment of presenters and attendees.  I can’t tell you how awesome it is to have a beer and talk SharePoint and not have your friends look at you like you’re a geek…yes, I KNOW that makes me a geek…but I will happily admit I’m a huge SharePoint geek and talking about it is just FUN for me!
  • The Speaker Dinner – It was my first one, so I don’t have anything to compare it to, but the more experienced speakers said it was a good one too! We were bussed to Salt Lick BBQ which was fantastic!  I was thrilled to meet a Microsoft MVP Legend, Bill English (@MinnesotaBill) who promised to come speak at our Chicago User Group one day.
  • The Women of SharePoint Women’s panel – I had the honor of sitting next to 5 amazing women to answer some thought-provoking questions about being a Woman in a Male-Dominated technology industry.   I believe every SharePoint Saturday would benefit from having some kind of Panel Discussion, not just a women’s or leadership panel, but any kind of panel. It was really interesting to see and hear different answers/perspectives to the same question.

–  The panel included myself (@chomp1313), Nedra Allmond (@NedraAllmond), Marcy Kellar (@Marcy Kellar), Mistry Rodriguez, and Tiffany Songvilay (@OfficeOverEasy).

–  Suzanne George (@SPGenie) did a fantastic job of moderating, in spite of the Chuck Norris jokes.   We had some great interactions with a wonderful audience!

  • The Presenters – As always, the presenters were top notch. There was a great mix of experienced presenters and new presenters, like me.  I really love how supportive the community is of each other.  We all work for different companies doing various things.  Some companies may even compete against each other, but there is none of that here and I love it!  This community is truly unique in the way that we all support and help each other.
  • The Attendees – The attendees at this event are always such a good mix of users / providers at every level.  These great conversations between sessions, at lunch and at SharePint remind me a few key points about SharePoint in general:

–  No one knows everything about every aspect of SharePoint…I believe it is impossible – we all need to specialize in a few key areas and rely on others to specialize in others. That’s why we all work so well together.

–  What seems easy to you is not easy to someone else with different experiences and vice versa

–  There are still people that are just starting out in SharePoint…remember them, they are important

–  There are several different ways to reach the same goal in SharePoint, the way you succeed depends on process and the user…make sure the end user is a part of the process

  • Presenting – This was the first time I have presented at a SharePoint Event, thanks to Jim Bob Howard’s insistence that with 10+ years of SharePoint experience I must have something to say.  I had the honor of being able to present an Intro to Content Query Web Parts session. There were a few technical difficulties (user error) and the crowd was extremely helpful and forgiving. The positive feedback I received removes any hesitation I ever had about speaking in public…which is something I never aspired to before. However, SharePoint is something I’m very passionate about and I love talking about it!  I am hooked and I will be submitting again!

Well, that pretty much wraps it up.  If you’re reading this and you missed it…try to get there next year…it is well worth it!  Any of them are, I can honestly say I haven’t been to a “bad” one yet.  Here’s a link to the site to find the closest one to you:  http://www.spsevents.org/

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Past SharePoint Events I have been to since I discovered the awesome SharePoint Community 2011:

  1. SPS St. Louis
  2. SPTechCon – Boston
  3. SPS Houston
  4. SPS Chicago
  5. SPS New York
  6. SharePointFest Chicago
  7. SPS DC
  8. SPS Austin

Archive: Why absolutely everyone should attend a SharePoint Saturday – My Top Five Reasons

This article was originally written in November 2014.  It is being reposted here as an archive.

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I love SharePoint.  I love it so much that I actually spend my weekends flying around to different SharePoint events just because I love learning more about what it can do and what it can offer our clients. This weekend I returned from SharePoint Denver and I was compelled to share my top five reasons why everyone that has ever heard of SharePoint should attend an event.

What is SharePoint Saturday?  It is a one day FREE mini-conference that includes awesome sessions about SharePoint.  These sessions are targeted towards new users, current users of all skill levels, developers, decision makers and anyone else that has even heard the word “SharePoint”.  There are usually four or five 50 or 75 minute sessions running at the same time for different target audiences on all kinds of subjects, such as BI, jquery, Search, Designer, content management, governance, best practices, use cases, etc. etc. etc.  These sessions are led by Microsoft MVP’s, consultants, community experts, developers, architects and end-users that have something really cool to share.  Many of these speakers are the SAME speakers that you will pay $1000 or more to see at the big conferences (which are worth every penny, by the way)!   These awesome individuals donate their time to these events out of love for SharePoint and the community.  Plus you usually get some pretty cool swag (shirts, bags, usb drives, etc).

Free?  So what’s the catch?   It’s impossible to get something for nothing…right?  Wrong!  That’s just the point…there is no catch.  SharePoint Saturdays are run by volunteers, the speakers are volunteers and the sponsors take care of everything.  You are not forced to buy anything, listen to a sales pitch or even visit the sponsor booths…though, I highly recommend doing so since they have great information and some pretty cool swag.   There are always really great giveaways that you are eligible for or can sign up for at the booths.  Each of the six SharePoint Saturdays I have attended have given away at least one xbox with Kinnect (I won one in DC J).  The only cost or requirement is your Saturday time.

OK, so now to my point…here are my top 5 reasons everyone should attend a SharePoint Saturday:

Awesome Sponsors:  The sponsors of SharePoint Saturday are vendors that offer products and/or services revolving around SharePoint.  It’s amazing what you can learn about the capabilities of SharePoint that you never knew were possible until you talk to these guys.  You will find ways to make your SharePoint solution better and usually end up saving money for your company in time/development/productivity.  They may be SharePoint extensions, hosting services, consulting services, training and more.   Many of these companies were created because someone has felt your pain points before and created a solution for it.  Sponsors pay for the entire cost of the conference, which I find amazing.   I make a point of visiting each new sponsor I come across to learn about what they offer and determine if it might be something our company or a customer might need.

Knowledge is Power!  I don’t know about you, but I don’t have a lot of time to search and find all the latest and greatest best practices and techniques about every aspect of SharePoint.  I mean…SharePoint is HUGE.    Even though I have been a SharePoint Power User for 10 years, I still find new things every day.  SharePoint Saturday is a great way to get a “taste” of a lot of information about a lot of different subjects. You won’t walk out of every session as an expert on every subject, but hopefully you’ll learn something new that you can then make an effort to learn more about.  Why re-invent the wheel or have major/minor issues if someone is willing to let you learn from their triumphs and mistakes?  The truth is that there is so much that SharePoint can do that that you may not know about….you just don’t know what you don’t know.  And if you discover something that you want to learn more about, you’ll be at the right place to find the best training vendor or blog to meet your needs (either as a sponsor or ask a community member) that targets what you need.

Presenters:  I cannot sing the praises of the presenters enough!  In general they are extremely friendly, smart, witty and fun people who are passionate about what they do.   I absolutely love meeting and conversing with as many of the presenters that I can.  I will honestly say I haven’t met a presenter I didn’t like…and between SPTechCon 2011 and 6 SharePoint Saturdays this year, I have met a lot!  This is the most friendly, fun and smart group of people I have had the pleasure to be around.

Community:   By attending these sessions you become a part of an awesome community.  If you embrace it, it will enhance your SharePoint Experience.  I have had some great idea-exchanging conversations with other attendees who experience similar pain points we all have.  There are so many ways to accomplish the same thing in SharePoint and so many people have done so much.  This is a tight-knit community and if you are looking for an expert in a certain area, someone in the community will be able to point you in the right direction.

Free Stuff:  On top of the all the free training you’ll get, you get lots of swag (and good swag too!) plus breakfast, plus lunch, plus the chance to win really great prizes (valued from $25 up to $400+).  This all adds up to one great time!  Additionally, you may even get a free beer (or soda if you’re under 21 or not a drinker) No, not at the conference, but at SharePint, which is a very social event where the speakers and attendees congregate to partake in lively discussions and raise a glass to the community at the end of the day. And don’t be shy at these things…people are there because they WANT to connect with other SharePoint people.

I hope you will find the next SharePoint Saturday near you at http://www.spsevents.org/ and sign up today.  Check the site often, new dates and locations are announced all the time, or make it easy and sign up for the newsletter.  The more users that are educated on how to use this powerful tool, the more SharePoint will blossom, which will increase demand for more products and services to make people’s lives easier and we all win.

(And no, I am not an organizer or a sponsor…I am just a really passionate attendee that wants to share the wealth of this amazing resource!)

 

Archive: How to hide the “Workspace” checkbox on a calendar without code or customization

This was originally written in October 2011.  I am reposting here for archival purposes

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I often get requests to remove the “Workspace” field on a calendar.   It’s a great feature if you need it, but if you don’t allow your users to create sub-sites, then it’s a training issue to teach people to ignore it.  I prefer to show my users only what they need on a page.  I don’t want purposely ignoring fields to become a habit.

HideImage1-New_Calendar_Item

So it should be easy…just go to the Site Settings, click on the content type of “Events”, click on the name of the field and change it to hidden.  Nope…that doesn’t work.  As you can see below “All Day Event”, “Recurrence” and “Workspace” are greyed out and un-clickable.

HideImage2-Calendar_Fields

So off to “Bing” I go….and I search and I search.  I found a way if you change an administrative Hive file or use code.  Neither are solutions for me.  So I search some more…and still nothing for a no-coder like me.

I figure there MUST be a way to do this in my favorite little SharePoint tool, SharePoint Designer.  And I found what I believe must have been some evil genius at Microsoft’s version of a prank or an Easter Egg:  the triple click!   And to be honest, it is so ridiculously simple I thought I must have missed it….so I searched again.  If I missed this solution…please let me know…it means my search skills need some serious beefing up.

So finally, the ridiculously easy solution…Triple click the column property and set to “Hidden”

  1. Open SharePoint Designer 2010
  2. Click Content Types
  3. Open the Event Content Type if you want to the field in
    1. You can change this at the parent level to affect all lists using the content type, at the sub-site level to change only items on that site, or create a new content type if you just want to change it on certain lists.
  4. Click on Edit Columns
    1. HideImage3-Edit_Columns
  5. Select the Column Name you want to change the property for
  6. Then click the “Property” you want to change 3 times…not twice, not 4 times, but 3 times.

(An even number of clicks (2, 4, 6) does nothing…but a triple click, or any odd number of clicks (5, 7, 9) works every time….weird!)

HideImage4-Edit_Columns

  1. After the 3rd click…wait one second.  The property will become a dropdown.  Select the value you want then save your changes.

HideImage5-Edit_Columns

And Voila!   A no-code way to get rid of that pesky workspace field!

HideImage6-New_Calendar_Item

Important note:  Once you start creating calendar items with this field hidden on the content type, it will stay hidden even after you try changing it back…and vice versa: if you created items with the field visible on the content type, the field will stay visible on that content type.

The workaround for this is to create a new content type, based on the Event, hide (or unhide) the workspace field, and use the new content type as the default moving forward.