Terms can be Merged, Deprecated and Moved with the Term Store Management Tool for SharePoint 2010

With this post we wrap up our commentary on the seventh video course included in our SharePoint 2010 curriculum, Manage Enterprise Metadata with Taxonomy Management in SharePoint 2010. The title of this course is Building Taxonomies in SharePoint 2010 – Part Two. Access to this video course on building taxonomies for SharePoint 2010 is restricted to subscribers to our SharePoint-Videos dot com web site, or either single or enterprise purchasers of this same content on DVD media. Please either contact us at +1 630-786-7026, or by completing a contact us form as provided on our web site.

Merging terms
All of the properties of terms merged into other terms are added (the verb included in the language provided by Term Store Management Tool for this function is “submerged”) to the destination term, while any associations already created for the terms that have been merged are preserved, as is. The navigation pane for the Term Store Management Tool will no longer display terms that have been merged into other terms. Rather, only the remaining terms will be displayed in this pane. Terms that have been merged simply appear as other labels, or synonyms of the term that remains. Of course, it makes sense to include specific policies within a governance plan for taxonomy to manage who/what/where/why/how terms are merged by users, especially given the fact that, as we just noted, merged terms somehow disappear from the navigation pane. It is important to note that merged terms can not be reverted back to a prior state; in other words, if a decision is made to render merged terms discrete, then the new discrete term will have to be built up once again from scratch.

Deprecating Terms
As Mike Doane notes, deprecating terms with the SharePoint 2010 Term Store Management Tool is akin to effecting a “soft” delete. Deprecated terms can no longer be used to tag. We agree with Mike and recommend that terms be consistently “deprecated” prior to actually deletion to ensure that process owners have time to review any/all instances where terms have been used, to ensure that it makes sense to proceed with deleting them. It should be clear why it makes sense to include a step for managing precisely how terms are to be deprecated in a taxonomy governance plan to ensure that proceeding with a deletion will not adversely effect the overall taxonomy.

Moving Terms
It is a straightforward procedure to move terms from one term set to another. Simply right click on the term in the navigation pane, select “move” and then click on the designated new location. Of course, a taxonomy governance plan should include approved procedures whereby terms can be moved between term sets.

Throughout the three posts that we have used to comment on this information-rich video course on working with terms with the Term Store Management Tool, we have referred to a separate governance plan for taxonomy. However, it makes sense for this plan to be merely a feature of an overall governance plan for SharePoint. The fact that this portion of the plan should be applicable to taxonomy provides SharePoint owners with an opportunity to ensure that line of business (LOB) units are empowered, as required, to manage the production and ongoing operation of their respective taxonomies.

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