screenshot of Term Store Management tool in SharePoint 2013 WCM

10 SharePoint 2013 Taxonomy and Metadata Resources

SharePoint Web Content Management can seem overly-complicated for people used to platforms like Drupal, WordPress or even DotNetNuke. Fortunately, there are a lot of resources to help you get up to speed. You can use the set of articles below to get up to speed or brush up on key taxonomy and metadata concepts. Getting […]



April 11, 2014


SharePoint Web Content Management can seem overly-complicated for people used to platforms like Drupal, WordPress or even DotNetNuke. Fortunately, there are a lot of resources to help you get up to speed. You can use the set of articles below to get up to speed or brush up on key taxonomy and metadata concepts.

Getting Up to Speed on SharePoint 2013 Metadata

SharePoint is very different from other content management systems and SharePoint 2013 introduces a lot of features that weren’t available in earlier releases. Start by getting the lay of the land with these articles that provide overviews of terminology and tools.

Chart showing the scope and flexibility of different SharePoint 2013 web parts and other components.

Introduction to managed metadata
Learn about the differences between Taxonomy (structured, formal, set lists like Categories) & Folksonomy (user/community generated for content like Keywords or Tags). The other key learning is how these things are managed: You can have global sets or localized sets (site collection content type, library, list). If you are going to have a lot of authors and continue adding content regularly, then dig deeper on Managed Meta Data column & Enterprise Keywords column.

Give the section at the very end about term set properties a close read because you’ll want to think about usage of the terms and term sets before getting too deep into development.

Managed metadata and navigation in SharePoint 2013
This piece reviews newer features and changes to how SP2013 manages meta data compared to SP2010. Some of this is technical, but it identifies some key things that you’ll want to implement. Pinning, Managed Navigation and (SEO) Friendly URLs are all newer features worth considering. This is a good place for you to pick up some terminology before going deeper on the topics elsewhere.

How to build a SharePoint site taxonomy
This article is about intranet and team sites, but there are some good points here about deciding the importance of certain terms in your taxonomy and it also gives some pointers on where to look during planning. Think of it as a starting point for brainstorming what should be included in taxonomy.

SharePoint 2013 Managed Metadata 2.0 – what’s right, what’s wrong
This post assumes you have a basic understanding of your taxonomy options. It gives you some thoughts on when to use different taxonomy vs folksonomy in your organization. Read this to get a better feel for what works and what doesn’t for enterprises.

Planning Your Taxonomy

Once you know what terms mean and what a taxonomy consists of, its time to start figuring out what you want and documenting it. These articles look more closely at the components of taxonomy, including the hierarchy of terms, different places that things can be stored and how to maintain them in SharePoint.

Plan managed metadata in SharePoint Server 2013
Bookmark this and come back to it at different points in your planning and implementation. I used this article to find the next one on my list which was very helpful.

Plan terms and term sets in SharePoint Server 2013
This article walks you through setting up terms sets, gives you examples of what might be used as meta data, and brings up some questions about the best situations to use Managed Meta Data. You’ll want to read this a few times and keep it handy. Don’t forget to checkout the templates at the bottom.

Designing Your Taxonomic Hierarchy
One of my favorite articles in this list. It looks at organizing meta data into either a single column (1 sub set with multiple nested term) or multiple column (multiple sub sets with shallower term nesting). Most of the article will have you thinking that single column is the way to go because of the ease of setup and management. Later in the article you’ll see that single-column leads to a much weaker search experience. If you have a large site or a lot of documents, then you’ll want multi-column so users can search using a wider variety of terms.

Putting SP2013 Taxonomy & Meta Data to Use in Navigation and Search

The main point of using Managed Meta Data or Term Management Tool is to leverage it for site navigation and search. Here are articles that will help you determine implementation.

Managed Metadata and Taxonomies in SharePoint 2013 [Webinar]
I found a webinar by Chris McNulty that does an amazing job of tying everything together. Topics in this article list and how the term management tool and taxonomies get used by SharePoint across sites are covered. Limitations of metadata usage depending on how SharePoint 2013 is configured are also discussed.

The webinar is an hour. I definitely think its worth watching in its entirety before finalizing any development or usage decisions.

SharePoint 2013 search, metadata-driven navigation simplify structure
This is an overview article on using tags for navigation via the Managed Navigation feature. There is not a lot of meat on this one. Read it for the section called “Getting Ready for Navigation”. Here’s the key bit of info:

By default, SharePoint will automatically create navigation paths based on the names of pages. In some cases, this approach to SharePoint search might be desirable for default pages in a section of your site. But for most pages, turning this option off will allow you to manually create term affinities for individual pages…

This means that you can decide whether SharePoint uses the page name/URL as navigation or relies on your terms. You might want the default option for your main navigation, but you should look at using term based navigation for in-page sub-nav or internal linking within content.

SharePoint Navigation – Structured, Metadata Managed, Intelligent Contextual Navigation?
I’m going to warn you that there is some terrible grammar in this article and could use a little copy-editing. I like it because it talks about navigation choices and using managed meta data in a very non-technical way. It’s short and worth the read for the ideas.

Please suggest other resources in the comments. SharePoint 2013 is a complicated animal and I think everyone can use some help from time to time.

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