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Document management separating between published and unfinished documents

1 October 2015
Elad Piran

SharePoint websites serve several purposes as well as contain various types of content. We plan and construct websites according to our needs and the needs of our target-audience. In some cases, are our website serves multiple target-audiences that naturally have different needs.

Document-management: prior to the emergence of the SharePoint website

We used to manage documents on our computer, on a local drive (such as the C drive) or the organizational network drive (such as the P drive). We wrote, edited, changed and saved documents, and when it was ready- we distributed it (usually via email).

Document-management was personal. When we wanted to receive input from our colleagues, we sent them an email (or, in olden times, printed the document and placed it in an envelope) and received a response with their own version or notes.

Asking for feedback from a bunch of colleagues was…challenging. And when we tried to manage these documents, it usually involved saving multiple versions and sub-versions, e.g. FileName.doc, Filename(1).doc, Filename(14).doc, etc.

Document-management in SharePoint websites

SharePoint websites enable "smart" document management:

  • Document status: "upload", "input", "publish"- different states of storing a document on a website, with each situation enabling us to perform various actions for different users.

  • Managing authorizations and monitoring the document. Managing the document's "sharing".

  • Change Management and the "collective editing" feature that can simultaneously involve a number of users, including notifications regarding other users' editing and merge the changes.

  • Version Control which includes sub-versions and publishing-versions as well as display older versions and recover versions. SharePoint enables users to easily compare versions.

  • Managing documents' properties and metadata.

Additional advantages include:

  • Accessibility, sharing and collective work on documents in SharePoint websites

  • Initiating workflows for documents

  • Organizing and storing documents in a central sever (central backup).

The SharePoint document library offers many document-management options; activating these features in the SharePoint library depends on the definitions we choose for our document library.


And here's a personal tip:

When we manage documents in a SharePoint website, it's best to separate the published documents (final, official, authorized versions of these documents) and documents still being edited/constructed.

A library document dedicated to unfinalized documents can allow all document sharing and management abilities and grant this library's users editing authorization to work on library's documents.

The 'published documents' library, on the other hand, would require limiting document sharing and management abilities so that the library contains only the documents' final versions and not allow users to edit at all. The library's users cannot be able to edit or delete published documents, whether deliberately or mistakenly.

This segregation enables users to  easily differentiate between published documents and those still being worked on and allows editors to manage them correctly and avoid mistakes.

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