In my previous blog about "Record Centre's" I explained the need for archiving information into a RS. In this blog I will guide you step by step through the process of actually setting one up.
Before we start putting it all together, let me create a list of steps that we need to follow:
- Create a Content Type that will be used to classify the document type.
- Connect the Content Type to a "Live" or active document library that gets used very day.
- Create a "Record Centre" using an Enterprise template that ships with MOSS.
- Setup the XML web service that becomes the entry point into the Record Centre.
- Create a document library in the Record Centre to store the archived information.
- Setup a "Record Routing" rule in the Record Centre to link the archive document library with the incoming "Content Type".
- Test that the solution works.
1: Create the Content Type
The concept of the "Content Types" is so large that I will need to write a couple of separate blogs just on this topic alone. Therefore I will only explain the basic details in this section of this blog.
- Sharepoint stores the metadata for lists and document library's in virtual fields in the content database. These virtual fields are called "Site Columns" and can be accessed from the gallery section under "Site Settings". New meta data fields can be created at any time and stored as a site column. This list of columns is different for each site collection.
- Content Types is a way of grouping selected site columns together as a unit. This forms the basis of how lists are created and can also be used to create associated meta data for an MS Office Document. To create a new content type, navigate to the gallery section under site settings.
- To create the layout of how an MS Office document is going to display the meta data, we use templates in MS Office. Assuming that we are going to work with MS Word, create a new template in MS Word and save the file as a .dotx file. Link the file to the content type using the advanced settings of the Content Type itself.
2: Create the Document Library and link the Content Type
The next part of the process is to create a document library in any active site and then link the content type to it.
- Create the document library by selecting "Create" from the "Site Actions" menu in any Sharepoint site.
- Navigate to the Document Library and select "Document Library Settings" from the menu. You will notice that nowhere is there any option called "Content Types" on the configuration screen that looks like the image displayed above. Content Types need to be activated at document library level by selecting "Advanced" settings and allowing content types.
- Once Content Types have been enabled, you can select the content type created earlier and link it to the document library.
3: Creating a Record Centre
A "Record Centre" is one of the enterprise templates that ship with MOSS 2007 and it needs to be created before we configure the XML web service.
- Start the process by creating a new Sharepoint site. Specify the name and URL and then select the "Record Centre" template from the Enterprise tab. It is typically a good idea to create it as the top level site in a site collection.
- Keep in mind that a Record Centre is going to get very large as more and more data is archived into it. It therefore might be an good idea to create it as a separate web application with its content database on a separate SQL server.
4: Setting up the XML Web service
The XML web service is the entry point into the Record Centre and allows us to archive information from anywhere on the network.
- The option to configure the RS is found under the "Application Management" tab in the Central Admin Console. There is a sub section called "External Connections" and underneath that is an option called "Record Centre".
- The first thing that needs to be configured is the URL to the XML web service connected to the RS. There is a sample URL below the textbox and it looks something like this: http://NameOfServer/RecordCentreName/_vti_bin/Officialfile.asmx.
- Once the URL is configured we need to associate an Logical name to the web service. This is done in the second textbox. This logical name will be used in the rest of Sharepoint to refer to the Record Centre.
5: Create Document library in Record Centre
If the documents are stored in a document library within a "Live" site, then it is only logical that they will be stored in a document library within an Record Centre.
- Select the "Create" option from the "Site Actions" menu in the RS and create the document library as per usual.
- The only major difference might be that no default document is associated with the document library during the creation process. Select "None" from the drop down list.
6: Setup the Record Routing Rules
When the document is delivered to the RS via the XML web service, there must be some way to associate the incoming Content Type with the correct document library in the RS. This is done via "Routing Rules".
- When a Record Centre is created it comes with a default list called "Routing Rules". This list is used to define the rules that map the incoming content type with archive document library's.
- A default document library and routing rule is also created called "Unclassified Records". These are used to manage incoming content to the RS that cannot be handled by the routing rules defined.
- To create a new Routing Rule, select the "New Item" option from the routing list. This will open the screen displayed above.
- Create a "Title" and "Description that will uniquely identify the routing rule in the routing list.
- The "Location" will be the name of the document library in the RS that will store the archived documents.
- The "Aliases" will be the name of the "Content Type" associated with the incoming document delivered via the XML web service.
- Be Careful, all the names used are case sensitive as the application was written in C#. It won't give you any errors, it just won't work.
7: Testing the solution
To test the solution we need to navigate to the document library used in the "Live" site and send a document to the "Record Centre" using the XML web Service.
- Select a document in the document library, click on the drop down arrow to get the various options and navigate to the "Send To" option. You will note that an option appears with exactly the same name as the logical name we associated with XML web service.
- By selecting this option, a copy of this document will be sent to the "Record Centre" via the XML Web service. If everything works correctly you should see a "Operation completed Successfully" screen when it is complete.
If everything worked correctly then we should see the archived document in the "Record Centre". Navigate to the RS and then to the document library intended to archive the document.
- Every day a document is archived into the document library it creates a new folder that is time stamped for that day.
- Each document that is stored in the folder of the day also gets a timestamp extension added to its name.
- A properties folder also gets created in the folder of the day that contains an XML file with all the meta data in it. The meta data contains information about the content type, date archived, incoming location, person that archived the information and much more.
At this point the entire process has been completed and your "Record Centre" is operational.
Records Management in Sharepoint
Why do we need to Archive information into a Record Centre?
Setting up a Record Centre in Sharepoint