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Lessons in Document Management – From a SharePoint Perspective (Using the Drop Off Library)

Posted on February 11, 2014 by Ken Cooper

Business Use Case

Please see the prior article to see the whole business case. We are going to tackle the issue of getting the documents to the correct spot. Without putting documents into the correct location users have a hard time trying to find work that has already been done or the correct version. Nobody wants the filing job; the job of figuring out and putting documents into the proper location. Awww I can hear but want about searching Google does it.

Without proper location and information “document metadata” the search experience will soon become diminished. Search engine have rules that they follow on how to give something precedents and ranking. All the documents start looking the same to the search engine because all of the same language it being used. Image if someone just said medical terms all day. By the end of the day it would sound all the same to you. How can we deliver an effective SharePoint Information Architecture for managing our contents more efficiently.

Let SharePoint do the moving!

Here’s an idea let the user define the data and let SharePoint move the document to the proper location,

We are going to give three ways to getting documents in to a document library.

Case 1: Let the users do it!

With this option the user would be responsible for uploading the document to the document library.

To make it easier for the user there are a couple of considerations.

  • Use third party software “like ours – Yes shameless plug PageLight for SharePoint !”
  • Start from an MS Office template with defined fields.
  • Or the good old fashion way; upload the document via the web browser.

Case 2: Users Revolt/Batch Mode

Instead of getting a trickle of documents your office gets a lot of documents for different sources. Or the users revolt and just want to throw the document over the wall and forget it. Some users complain that it’s too cumbersome to upload documents all day long (unless you’re using PageLight for SharePoint plug two :)

No matter which case we choose we first need to setup a landing area for the documents.

Since it is important to classify our documents we want to put them into a holding tank until they clean up their act (or data). If we put document with missing data it slows down everyone productivity. The end users should be checking the content of the document shouldn’t have to worry if they get the wrong document. We’ll we are going to drop these files off first.

Drop your files at the Drop Off Library

The drop off library is a special document library so you just can create a document library and apply it. The functionality was setup as a short cut organizing content. The following steps will be for setting up the Drop Off Library.

To enable this feature click on Settings Menu Icon settingsicon > Site Settings > Site Features and find Content Organizer and activate it.

Route documents to destination in Document Management System using Drop off library

In Site Settings two new features show open highlighted in yellow

Once the document library has been created we will apply the content types that we created from the last article.

Applying the Content Types

Go to the Drop Off library and click on the Library tab on the ribbon. Click on the Library Setting button.

SharePoint Document Library Settings to configure drop off library

Click on the Add from existing site content types

List setting in drop off library

To make finding your content types easier select the group your content types are associated with.

Add Content Types of Drop Off Library Select content Types to add in Drop Off Library

Add all of the content types to the content types to add listbox.

To make sure that there’s no cheating remove the document content type from the document library.

Click Change new button order and default content type

Set default content type in Drop Off Library

Uncheck the visible from the document content type

How to hide default document content type in drop off library

Perfect, let’s try it out! Click on the Drop Off Library title and try uploading a document.

Content Organizer in action when document is submitted

Next the screen will be the screen for populating the metadata for the file.

Document checked out after adding to Clinical Trials content type

Next we’ll switch the content type to see what it looks like.

Change content type to Medical Procedure in drop off library

Since this is a clinical research document we will switch it back to Clinical Research Journal content type.

Document is saved with Clinical Trials content type Documents listed in drop off library with content type selected

Ok so where should the document go?

Process, Process, Process

Ok here’s where your process is important. Depending on how you process the work you should potentially direct the documents? For example let say that Medco has two sets of reviewer one for Clinical and the other for Medical Procedures. Depending on how the groups worked we can either send the documents to the same place or to different locations. This is also true with security if there’s an area that should have a higher security level because clinical trials can be confidential. Try doing the pros and cons way for figuring out if it should be one or many locations.

For this use case we will be moving the documents into two different document libraries. One document library called Clinical and the other Medical.

Create two document libraries and assign the appropriate content type to the libraries.

Phew like TV magic that complete.

There’s no Place like home

Now we are going to configure the content organizer rules so the document will be delivered to their respective locations once the pertinent metadata is filled out.

Go to Site Settings > Site Administration > Content Organizer Settings

I’m not going to explain each setting but the description gives you a good explanation of the settings.

Site settings to configure Content Organizer

now we will take the default settings. Next click on the Content Organizer Rules link.

Click new item.

Create new Content Organizer rules Set condition and target location in Content Organizer rules

We have defined some conditions so that our reviewers will get documents with certain metadata stored in certain locations. Let’s try it out!

Upload another document to the Drop Off Library with the following settings.

Content Organizer will automatically move to the correct library based on rules

Submit the document and your screen should look like this.

Document submitted and moved successfully to final location by Content Organizer

The move of the document is triggered when a document is uploaded or a document’s metadata is changed. So if the document does not have the proper metadata it will not be moved to its final location until all of the metadata criteria that we have defined are correct.

Yes this looked like a lot of steps but once you’re familiar with the steps you can easily have this up and running in hours. The main thing that this solution will depend on is your document classification and metadata. If you’re unsure try doing some test runs with a test site only use data that is completely necessary.

This solution can be extended in many different ways. For example the drop off library can be email enabled to get documents from email attachments.

If documents need to be moved off the file server you can use PageLight for SharePoint to move the document to the Drop Off library and have it do the routing of the document.

For more idea please check back for more Lessons in Document Management – From a SharePoint Perspective.

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