3 min read

Meta data

Meta data is an all so common subject in the SharePoint world.

But what is it? Where is the value? Why bother? And how does it relate to SharePoint?

In short, metadata is data about information and the value it provides is better search or information discovery as Microsoft like to call it. Not that information that has no metadata is not searchable, but the quickest way to find information in SharePoint is Search. Yes it’s just as powerful as Google.

By tagging content with metadata companywide terms can be used, such as price lists, the target readership of the information. This is one of the biggest advantages of uploading files into SharePoint from the network drive to a library.

So how to get started with meta data?


At the site collection level, go to the Term Store management. And define your tags.



In the figure above the tags are:

  • Author : The department who created the document
  • Doc Type: This includes: Policy, Manual, Tip, Productivity
  • IT: Which IT group
  • Legal And Compliance: US or international
  • Misc. : This includes: End user, New Employee
  • Readership: The department who should read the info
  • Technology: Includes: SharePoint, Outlook, SQL, Blackberry, IPad


This is a good start. Don’t think about it too much.

By adding the tags in the Term Store, the tag is workable across an entire site collection.

Now add the meta data to a field in the list. Or even better a content type (Cool SharePoint feature)


Tagging your content.


Now you’ve created fields/colunms/ content types that correspond to the meta data in the Term store and these are in your library/list.

So when you open a list item for example:


You can select the tag.



If a tag isn’t there you can make a request (See top right hand corner of the figure above).


The end result of creating an item in a list is:

And that’s it….Yeah!!!!.


But wait there’s more


5 cool things about SharePoint meta data:


  1. Information is searchable across an entire site collection.


  2. Search information is completely standardized…so it’s findable.


  1. When you search, you can even filter on the tag in the results search page.


  2. You can set up an alert on the tagged information……What????


Yes this is really neat.

Perform the following steps.

  1. Search on the meta keyword word Employee All(This must exist as meta data).
  2. On the search results page, select the tag Employee All.


    Now you are presented with a search results page that only is displaying content that has been tagged with content that relates to all employees..


  3. Click on the Alert button on the top of the page


  1. Set up the alert. You could subscribe the alert just for yourself, but also, the Entire Company (An Active Directory group it maybe: AllEmployeeUsers).

Now when and content is uploaded/ entered into SharePoint and tagged with Employee All (ie. Information that relates to all employees).

This is a sure way for users to use SharePoint to store info, but also push info out to targeted employees.