In this article I would like to emphasize on Content Type as a Metadata, the Scenarios involved & frequently asked Questions.
What is Content Type?
Content type is a reusable collection of Metadata (columns), workflow, behavior, and other settings. Definition from MSDN:
"A content type is a reusable collection of settings that you want to apply to a certain category of content. Content types enable you to manage the metadata and behavior of a document, item, or folder in a centralized, reusable way. "
What are the advantages of Content Type?
Content Type provides following advantages:
1. Centrally Managed We can define content type in a central location & this improves the Accuracy & Consistency.
2. Reusable We can reuse a content type across multiple libraries, sites, site collection & web application. This reduces the repetition work.
3. Metadata Content Type allows us to create columns for the underlying data involved.
4. Behavior We can associate workflows for content types. This enables workflow to be started across different libraries which uses same content type. Eg: A document of content type 'Contract' requires 'Approval' workflow to be started.
5. Retention Policies We can associate Information Management Policies for content types. This allows global policy application for entire document/item with specific content type. For example: We can set a document archiving policy for all 'project' content type document with age greater than 3 years.
6. Content Standardization As the content type is centralized & managed by authorized professionals, the Quality of Data will be much better.
7. Custom Forms We can associate custom forms with each content type. For example an Expense content type can have a custom form showing lookup values.
8. Hierarchical We can create new content type from existing content types. This allows reusing existing structure.
Can we assign Content Type to List?
Yes. We can have Document content type & List content type.
Can a document library have multiple Content Types?
Yes. For an example scenario, we can have a project document library which contains 'Requirement' content type, 'Documentation' content type which is different type of documents.
Can a parent site Content type reusable in child site?
Yes. Content type created in parent site is available for sites & sub sites.
What is Content Type Hub?
A content type created in Web Application can be made available in another Web application. Such a web application created for Content Type sharing is called Content Type Hub. We need to configure Managed Metadata Service (MMS) for this purpose.
What is the difference between Site Content Type & List Content Type?
When you create a content type in site level, it is a Site Content type. When you add the content type to a List level, it is copied & becomes List content type.
What is push-down operation?
As site content type are copied to list content types, the changes made to parent are not propagated to child. To propagate changes we use push-down operations.
Is Content Type a Metadata?
Yes. Content Type can be called as Metadata. Additional to Metadata, Content Type can have behavior, forms & retention policies.
When I should use Taxonomy Terms instead of Content Types?
If you wanted to classify the entire document & items, you can assign Taxonomy Terms.
What are the different Metadata infrastructures available?
I would say Columns, Site Columns, Content Types, Terms are those available in SharePoint.
Columns are the List/Library Columns, but Site Columns represent reusable Columns in site level.
Can i live without Content Type?
No! In SharePoint everything is Content Type. The base content type include Folder, Document & Item.
When should i use Site Column?
Site Column is just a reusable column & can be considered as Sub set of Content Type. Site Column can be used within a Content Type. You can use Site Column for custom column requirements. For example SharePoint 2010 does not have an SSN column. You can create a custom SSN site column with associated validations & behaviors.
Can we Index the Content Type Column?
No. But you can index the list column where list is an instance of content type.
How to make a Content Type hidden?
Use the 'Hidden' property of content type (PowerShell / Server Object Model), Place in the _Hidden group.
How can we protect a Content Type from changes?
Set the Read Only property to true OR mark it as Sealed content type. Sealed content type are not updated through push-down operations.
In this article we have explored Content Type advantages & associated frequently asked questions.v