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In SharePoint if you want something created as a records repository, meaning there's one central location where you can formally control all the things that you consider corporate records, well the site template you can use is called the Records Center. Now this can only be created as the top -level site in a new site collection, which is what I've already done with this one. And while technically you can create several, you typically only make one. And this acts as the Record Center for the entire SharePoint farm.
The idea of a record of course is that there's a great deal of formality over its lifetime. We keep the records. We track the records. We have much tighter control over things considered records than we do just regular documents. Of course, it's your decision what a record actually means for you. Is it financial? Is it intellectual property? Is it it all of the above? When you create a Records Center, it's not necessarily obvious on the homepage what you're meant to do with it, but luckily under the Site Actions menu, there is actually a Manage Records Center option that steps you through the tasks that you're meant to do.
Step one being create content types and we've talked about this before. It's the idea off describing the type of content so that rather than having generic documents, we have legal contracts, intellectual property, business plans and by describing the content types, we can tell the Records Center what the content is that's coming into it. After that, we create records libraries. These are really just document libraries, and we're defining them as the final resting place, shall we say, of our company records. After those are defined, meaning what kind of stuff that do we have and where is it going to go, we create what's called content organizer rules.
This is really just a list in SharePoint but the Content Organizer is a new addition to SharePoint 2010 that allows us to define essentially routing rules for our content. We can give it a rule name. We're basically saying well when a legal contract comes into the Records Center, put it in one location. If it's a business plan, put it in a different location. If it's a resume created after a specific date, put it in a third location. So you can type the rule name, you can give it priority for when you have multiple rules, you can then ask what kind of content type is it, and even support the idea that this content type has different names in different sites.
After that can even ask a few conditions, such as when was it created. Do we have different rules for recent content as opposed to old content? And finally give it a target location. where should that end up. We are all trying to minimize the manual intervention of what actually happens to these documents that we consider records in our SharePoint farm. But the question still remains, okay you've got this records repository, whatever that is. Well, how do things actually get here.
How do they end up in the Records Center? One of the reasons that you typically only make one of these is that in central administration, your administrator can take the address of the Records Center and make what's called a Connection for it. What does that mean? Well, it means that on any other site, like I'm switching over to a completely different site in a different site collection, I can go into any document library, highlight a document here, click the drop-down, and under my Send to option, I have in this case a Send to Two Trees Records Center.
So I will get this from any library in any site collection across the entire SharePoint farm, and I can just click it. It asks me, Are you sure? Yes, I am sure. This connection can be defined so it's either doing a copy to the Records Center, or it's doing a move to the Records Center, or it's doing a move and leave a link. Now I actually configured it to do a copy so I've still got the original one in my original site, but if I switch over to the Records Center and just to refresh this page, well I will actually say that this is considered a Record Pending Submission.
I didn't set up any rules for where this is supposed to go, so it's on what's called my Drop Off library. It's not automatically being moved anywhere, because I haven't got any rules, and using the Records Center successfully is one of the main reasons why you really want to stop paying attention to defining content types in SharePoint as early as possible. Now one of the things, the Records Center uses which is fairly obvious over here is this a Find by document ID box here. What does this mean? Well. This is not just used in the Records Center but its very useful here.
In SharePoint 2010, is the idea that you can generate a unique identifier for pretty much any document through the entirety of SharePoint. Now it's not actually turned on for every site collection. That's something that's actually quite useful, if you think you're going to be using this ability, if you want to have the idea that no matter where a document moves in its lifetime, it keeps the same identifier. Well, we can actually turn it on. The Records Center actually has this on by default. It has on a feature called the Document ID service.
But let's say I wanted to support this ability in a different site collection. So I am going back to my normal team site here. It is a top-level site. So by going to my Site Settings, I can find my Site Collection Administration and this Document ID ability is something called a feature that's called the Document ID Service, which I am going to activate it, and just by turning it on, it will now assign unique identity keys to every document in the site collection, and no matter where it goes, it's going to keep that identity.
And actually if I go back to my Site Collection Administration, after turning that feature on, I now have a new link that allows me to change the settings of that feature. So I could, for example, begin all the Document IDs in this site collection with the characters ABC- and all the Document IDs in another site collection with DEF-, if I found this useful. Now after you turn this on, it doesn't immediately take effect. I have a message here saying this configuration is scheduled to be completed by an automated process. There could potentially be thousands of documents in these document libraries in these sites already, so it runs as a background job and may take some time.
So don't expect it to be instant the first time you turn it on. Again it's something that you typically only turn on once for any individual site collection. After it's turned on and let's look at the Records Center because it is turned on here, then any document in any library, if you look at its properties either by selecting from the drop-down or by selecting from the Ribbon, you'll see a unique Document ID that will be associated with this document wherever it goes in SharePoint. And from the homepage of, for example, the Records Center, we can just look up a Document ID if we want to track it.
Now obviously records management is an area you can spend a great deal of time on and you'll find it with this version of SharePoint that most of your time is really going to be spent white-boarding things out and talking about the amount of content types you have, the amount of libraries that you should have, what the procedures are for routing your content, but actually allowing it to happen in SharePoint is fairly simple. It's really going to be driven for the main part from your Content Organizer rules once you have actually defined your content types properly.
There are a few other options you should get familiar with particularly if you start storing large amounts of content, and you'll find them under the Records Center Management such as the ability to do hold records, meaning if there are policies applying to records but we're undergoing a litigation with them, we want to make sure that nothing happens to them in this whole process of e-discovery, and generate a file plan report, about how long things are kept, and generate audit report of general activity. We can also get records into the Records Center based on workflow. One of the actual available workflow steps in SharePoint Designer or even in Visio is the ability to send the document to a Records Center.
So you can have documents being sent to the Records Center either from a custom workflow, or by indeed configuring one of built-in workflows such as the Disposition Workflow, which is all about the end of life of a document. That's a very common situation that perhaps once a document has been existing in a document library but hasn't been edited for year, you might want to move it to the Records Center. And most of the questions that you need to ask are really more based on your own organization, your own rules and regulations that you have to follow but Records Center can be a very powerful way for managing this kind of content in SharePoint.
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