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In SharePoint 2010 Getting Started, author Simon Allardice walks through the first few hours a new user will spend with SharePoint working with Web sites, communities, content, and search. This course covers creating and using SharePoint sites, lists and libraries, how SharePoint streamlines teamwork, Office integration, and solutions for workflows and business intelligence.
Let's take a look at another very common SharePoint site. And this one is called a Document Workspace. What I'm looking at here is a Document Workspace immediately after it's been created. In some senses, it looks very similar to a Team Site. It doesn't have the stock imagery, but it has a lot of the same elements, the same default color scheme, the navigation along the left, the same elements along the top and the Ribbon. The difference is the focus of the site. The Team Site is organized around a support system for a team of people.
The Document Workspace is a support system for working on a complex document. Sure, there's nothing that stops you working on documents the way you always have. But if you have a complex document, a business plan, an annual report, you need to get involvement from lots of people across different teams, the different roles providing different information, lots of resources to track. You need to input, and you need to manage that input. This is a site you might want to take a look at. A Document Workspace allows you to track everything you need.
If I was to look at what this site is made of, in my All Site Content link, I see that I have several Libraries, including Shared Documents and several Lists, a Calendar, a Links list, a Talks list, and a Discussion Board. Many of these are identical to the Lists and Libraries you'd see on a Team Site. And in fact, Document Workspaces and Team Sites are very similar indeed. And like Team Sites, you don't want to get caught up in thinking that a Document Workspace is in any way magical. It's not. If you were to never use a Document Workspace in SharePoint, you're not doing anything wrong.
They're mainly suggestions, a prearranged set of Lists and Libraries that you might find useful if your problem is that you're working on a big document, and you need to manage a lot of resources. Now some people get caught up on the term "workspace." This is a Document Workspace not a document site. Really as far as SharePoint is concerned, there's no technical difference between something called a workspace and something called a site. Workspace is just used when the idea is that this site is probably more temporary.
You might create a Document Workspace to work on the annual report, work quite heavily with this workspace for a couple of weeks or a couple of months, and then when you're done with the report, you're done with the site. You can even delete the site. So it might have a lifespan of weeks or months, rather than years for a Team Site. But there is no technical difference. There's nothing that's going to make a Document Workspace suddenly disappear. Document Workspaces are SharePoint sites. They're made of Lists and Libraries.
They're easy to create. They're easy to use. And you should almost regard them as disposable resources. Now that's a stretch, particularly if you're used to regarding sites as something special. But the idea in SharePoint is that you'd create one. You'd use it. And when you're done, you'd get rid of it. And then you make another one for another project. As we get further into SharePoint, you'll see more complex and more enterprise-level ways of managing documents if you need that level of control. But the Document Workspace can be a very useful, very easy to create and easy to use way of managing documents and resources around those documents.
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