advice, enterprise content management, SharePoint 2010 taxonomy, taxonomy construction

Creating and Managing Taxonomies in SharePoint 2010: User Questions, Part II

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This is the second of two posts addressing common, and important, questions concerning the development and implementation of a taxonomy in SharePoint 2010. (Here’s the previous post).

Sure, we know SharePoint 2013 is just around the corner (and already here for some of you), but lots of companies are just now getting up to speed with SharePoint 2010 – and getting their first exposure to the Term Store Management Tool, the tool for creating and managing taxonomies within SharePoint. And don’t worry, many of these questions, and answers, will apply to SP 2013.


Q: What’s the difference between a Term Group, a Term Set and a Term?
A: A Term Group is meant to organize Term Sets, which contain Terms. Most of the work in the Term Store Management Tool is with Terms and Term Sets.

Q: Do terms have to be in a Term Set?
A: Yes, all terms need to have a parent Term Set created first. Note that Term Sets can be deleted without first deleting all the terms, which can be different than other taxonomy tools.

Q: Is it best to build the first version of the taxonomy term set in the Excel CSV file and then import it, or build it in the Term Store directly?
A: It’s usually easier to build it in the CSV file first and then import it

Q: Can a term in a Term Set be reused?
A: It depends. A term cannot be reused within the same Term Set, but it can be reused in another, different Term Set.

Q: Is it possible to rearrange the order of the terms in a Term Set such that they’re not alphabetical?
A: Yes, using the Custom Sort order in the Term Set Properties allows terms to be sorted by user needs.

Q: Does the Term Store allow a term to have one or more synonyms?
A: Yes, a term can have multiple synonyms. This is helpful, for example, when using an acronym for a popular term. The label can be the acronym, and the synonym can be the full term.


Q: Can terms from the Term Store taxonomies be used for Document Libraries?
A: Yes, terms can be used in Document Libraries for default metadata.

Q: Can Term Sets be created and used on a local site collection rather than just across the entire SharePoint 2010 implementation?
A: Yes, Term Sets can be created for local site collections only. The local Term Set can also reuse terms from the Global Term Set if desired.

Q: Where do user-generated tags appear?
A: These terms, also known as Enterprise Keywords, appear within the System Term Group folder in the Keywords Term Set.

Q: Can Enterprise (user-generated) Keywords be moved into another Term Set?
A: Yes, these terms can be moved from the System Term Set into the desired Term Set.

Q: What are the ways that terms can be used in a Content Type?
A: Terms can be added to a content type using a custom Managed Metadata Column.


Q: Does the Term Store allow for taxonomies to be exported to Excel?
A: No. By default, you cannot export taxonomies out of the Term Store. Out of the box, the Term Store only allows for importing Term Sets.

Q: Can terms be assigned “owners” who can control how the term is used?
A: Yes, terms can have owners assigned to control how the term is used. It can also have users assigned to be “informed” of proposed changes to the term.

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