One of the biggest challenges with SharePoint 2007 was working with enterprise wide content types. Fortunately, Microsoft heard the screaming and made a major change to SharePoint 2010 that supports an enterprise approach.

Working through the process of developing an enterprise information management strategy uncovers elements common across the organization. These commonalities should result in the establishment of a set of core content types, each with a standard set of metadata attributes.

The Trouble With SharePoint Pre 2010

A fundamental challenge faced by organizations with respect to specifying content types and metadata in earlier versions of SharePoint has been the inability to easily repurpose or reuse them across site collections.

Because site collections have represented fairly strict boundaries, most organizations have been forced to design and build custom solutions to get around this problem. Synchronization of content types and metadata across site collections required them to be copied or updated to each site collection, either manually by an administrator or programmatically through workarounds to the system itself.

Enter the Content Type Hub

Fortunately, SharePoint 2010 has addressed this issue through the implementation of Content Type Hubs. With the Content Type Hub, a specific site collection is selected to act as the central repository for content types intended for use enterprise-wide. Content types that are made part of the hub can then be syndicated, or published out, for consumption across other site collections.

What this means is that modifications to a global content type can now easily be pushed out to all site collections where it is being used, simplifying management.

Taxonomy and Metadata in SharePoint 2010

This was part five of a series on Taxonomy and Metadata in SharePoint 2010. The first four posts in the series — if you haven't read them — are:

Next up we take a look at information lifecycle management through the application of retention stages.