In this section, I shall discuss the Managed
Metadata Service, which many associate with tagging and taxonomy, but
it is essentially the central hub for managing metadata across site
collections and applications in a SharePoint 2010/2013 farm (and
potentially across farms, using the service and service proxy
The Managed Metadata Service exists as a
managed service application in a SharePoint farm and acts as a central
hub for the management of metadata. Content types and site columns
(general metadata) are great but very much tied to a particular site
collection (unless you use shared content types—more on this topic
later). The Managed Metadata Service allows content owners to create
sets of terms, forming a taxonomy, in a central location for use across
any SharePoint web application connected to the service.
Taxonomy and Folksonomy
“Taxonomy” and “folksonomy” are now very
prevalent terms in business. Thanks to the invasion of social
networking, people have become more aware of the benefits of tagging
and categorization of information, which require taxonomies and
folksonomies. What exactly is taxonomy and folksonomy, and what are the
Taxonomy describes a hierarchy of
classification nodes, called terms. Each term in a taxonomy provides a
category or classification of other data. The purpose of the hierarchy
is to provide a greater level of specificity as you navigate down the
hierarchy. For example, you could define a hierarchy of cities, grouped
by country and then by continent. You might then tag a person’s contact
record with a city term, country term, or continent term—or all
three—from the hierarchy. Taxonomies are typically defined as an
organized hierarchy of terms, managed by content owners.
Folksonomy describes a
user self-tagging vocabulary, which evolves over the life of the data
tagged. As an example, users may submit articles to a newsfeed and
categorize their posts with their own made-up tags. The tags do not
belong to an overarching taxonomy, nor do content owners manage them.
The idea is that users will gravitate to using the same tag names for
related content, and the tagging infrastructure will evolve as more
related content grows in the system.
Folksonomy provide a greater level of
categorization growth as users tag their content; hence, folksonomy
works best in scenarios where users self-publish content. Taxonomies
are better suited to situations of more organized and restricted
publication of content, where content owners restrict the vocabulary of
Now that you have a basic understanding of
taxonomy and folksonomy, I will show you how SharePoint implements them
via the Managed Metadata Service.
Typically, the Managed Metadata Service
already exists in a working SharePoint 2010/2013 farm. The following steps demonstrate how to create
a new Managed Metadata Service from Central Administration:
- Open Central Administration.
- Click the Manage Service Application link under the Application Management heading.
- In the list of service applications, if you see the Managed Service
Application (or something like it), leave it alone—for the purpose of
this demonstration you will just create another.
- Click the New icon from the ribbon and select Managed Metadata
Service from the drop-down list. SharePoint opens a dialog for the
service provisioning properties, as shown in Figure 1.
Figure 1. New Managed Metadata Service dialog
- Give the application a name.
- Provide database details for storing the metadata service configuration and data.
- The Managed Metadata Service is an application, hosted in
SharePoint via IIS, and therefore requires an application pool account,
so provide the credentials.
- The content type hub is an existing site collection that acts as
the central store for all shared content types, so provide the site
collection URL for a new hub for this Managed Metadata Service
application; you will use this later.
- Check Report Syndication Report Errors if you want the service to report synchronization errors.
- Check Add This Service Application to the Farm’s Default List if
you want all sites to use this service by default (recommended).
- Click the OK button to provision the new Managed Metadata Service.
- From the Managed Service Applications list, click the name of the
new Managed Metadata Service application, or select it and then click
the Manage icon on the ribbon.
- SharePoint displays the Term Store Management Tool, shown in Figure 2.
Figure 2. The Term Store Management Tool
What is a term store? Each Managed Metadata
Service contains at least one term store, which consists of a hierarchy
of term sets, or groups of term sets. I cover
this terminology in more depth shortly, so for now you only need to
know that a new provisioned Managed Metadata Service contains a default
term store, which is the beginning of your tagging taxonomy.
The Term Store Management Tool enables
administrators (and users with access rights to the service) to
manipulate settings for the Managed Metadata Service. Table 1 identifies the various settings in Figure 2.
Table 1. Settings on the Landing Page of Term Store Management Tool
|Available Service Applications
||Drop-down list of provisioned Managed Metadata Service Applications in the farm.
||Click the sample link to see a sample CSV file so that you may create your own to import tags into the term store.
|Term Store Administrators
||Users who have full control over the term store.
||The Managed Metadata Service supports multilingual terms; this setting stipulates the default language.
||Specifies the languages available for terms in the term store.|