Tired of manually creating custom navigation for every SharePoint site you create? With SharePoint Server 2013, you are empowered to build navigation for your sites (and sub sites) that’s driven by managed metadata taxonomy. By using managed metadata navigation, you can design site navigation around important business concepts.
Why metadata, you may ask? In SharePoint Server 2013, metadata drives discovery within the environment through search functionality. This is a core foundational driver of SharePoint 2013. Search functionality is a key component of why companies utilize SharePoint Server 2013 as a file repository and collaboration service for their businesses.
Metadata, metadata, metadata! This term comes up frequently in SharePoint discussions. What is metadata? Well, metadata is truly data about data in its simplest form. Metadata is not a complex topic, although some would have you believe it is. The simplest form of metadata is company or record information (i.e. document title, company name, author, company website URL, created by, edit date). There are many types of metadata that are included out-of-box within SharePoint Server 2013.
When creating metadata within SharePoint Server 2013, it is best practice to create custom term sets to keep your metadata organized and simple. This will aid you in future changes and updates that may be required as your organization grows organically with the SharePoint 2013 platform feature sets. A few best practices to keep in mind when creating a term set:
Write simply, completely, and consistently – This will help general audiences understand your metadata and, therefore, help them understand your data set.
Use controlled vocabularies – Controlled vocabularies help limit the terms and keep your navigation simple and easy to understand
Be descriptive – A descriptive title for your term set will help set it apart from other term sets in the SharePoint Server 2013 Term Store and make it easier to apply navigation to your sites.
Avoid using special characters – You should avoid using printing or non-printing characters in your term set title and terms as this will make your metadata machine-readable by avoiding such characters.
Review your metadata for accuracy – This is the most important practice to remember as this will alleviate future issues with adding and updating your term set(s).
SharePoint Server 2013 features a centralized Term Store within its feature sets. The Term Store provides an interface to manage metadata term sets and terms for an entire organization within one single interface. Here you can apply changes to the organization as a whole. Also, as an added feature, each site collection within SharePoint Server 2013 includes its own Term Store, should a site collection owner decide they would like to keep their Term Sets and terms private from the rest of the organization. This allows for customization of each site collection and their respective terms on an as-needed basis as the site collection grows organically with the increased input of data.
Managed metadata can not only be used to provide information about other data within SharePoint Server 2013 but it can also be utilized to manage navigation for the entire organization or even at a single site collection level within the environment. Managed metadata also drives enterprise search results and can aid in better search filter results to garner your specific search needs.