How to configure Records Management in SharePoint 2010

Content Management Resource Center

Provides an alternative to the traditional process of copying or moving records to another location, and then applying security and retention policies. You can manage records “in place which means that you can leave a document in its current location on a site, declare it as a record, and apply the appropriate security, retention and disposition properties to the record. You can still use the Records Center site template, but now you have the option of managing records in any site.

There are essentially three ways to manage records. You can:

  • Manage records in an archive such as the Records Center.
  • Manage records in the same document repository (“in place”) as active (def: records in frequent use, regardless of their date of creation, required for current business relating to the administration or function of an organization) records.
  • Use a combination of the two methods above. For example, you could keep records in place with active documents for a specified period of time, and then move the records to an archive (Record Center).
Create and configure a Records Center site

When you use the Records Center, you are working in a locked down repository and can use a Send To operation to get records into that repository.

There are five major steps to configure a Record Center Archive Site:

  1. Create the Records Center site using the Records Center site template.
  2. Create record libraries or lists to manage and store each record type that is specified in your file plan.
  3. Associate content types to your libraries and lists.
  4. Create and add site columns to the relevant content types to contain and display the metadata for each record type that is specified in your file plan.
  5. Add an information management policy to a content type on the Records Center site.

Configure in-place records management

Any site can be enabled for in-place records management and can be configured as a records management system. In this type of system, unlike with the Records Center, you can store records along with active documents in a collaborative space.

There are three major steps to configure in-place records management

  1. Activate in-place records management at the site collection level.
  2. Configure record declaration settings at the site collection level.
  3. Configure record declaration settings at the list or library level.

Records Management Planning

Document Library Planning

Content Type and Workflow Planning

Plan workflows (SharePoint Server 2010)

Information management policy planning (SharePoint Server 2010)


Records Management Configuration

Configuring the Records Center Site

Content from all over the enterprise can be submitted to a Records Center and then routed to the appropriate place where it picks up the right permissions and policies, such as expiration and auditing.

  • Document ID: Every document can be assigned a unique identifier, which stays with the document even when it’s archived.  This allows records to be easily referenced by an ID no matter where the document moves.
  • Multi-Stage Retention: Retention policies can have multiple stages, allowing you to specify the entire document lifecycle as one policy (e.g. review Contracts every year, and delete after 7 years)
  • Per-Item Audit Reports: You can generate a customized audit report about an individual record.
  • Hierarchal File Plans: You can create deep, hierarchal folder structures and manage retention at each folder in the hierarchy (or inherit from parent folders).
  • File Plan Report: You can generate status reports showing the number of items in each stage of the file plan, along with a rollup of the retention policies on each node in the plan.
    • Taxonomy and Centralized Content Types:  The archive will be a consumer of enterprise-wide taxonomies and content types, ensuring consistency and context transfer between the collaborative spaces and the archive.  We’ll be talking a lot more about our 2010 taxonomy investments in future posts.
    • Content Organizer: The records router can use metadata to route incoming documents to the right place in the hierarchical file plan.  For instance, it enables you to automatically enforce rules on content that is submitted, like "If a Purchase Agreement is tagged with Project Alpha, send to the Alpha Contracts subfolder and apply that’s folder retention policy to the item."
    • Virtual Folders: The file plan is a great way to manage a repository but often time isn’t what you want to use to navigate and find the content you are looking for.  The SharePoint 2010 Records Center makes use of a new feature called metadata based navigation, which allows you to expose key metadata as virtual folders:

Configuring in place records management

Records management doesn’t start (or stop!) in the archive.  Content isn’t created there and it sure doesn’t live there for the most interesting parts of its life. Microsoft made a huge effort in 2010 to enable you to do effective records management in collaborative spaces.  Auditing, Retention, Expiration, Reporting, Records Workflows, eDiscovery, Legal Hold and Recordization are all features you can use in collaborative space as you are striking a balance between SharePoint’s value to end users and the need for information governance. This recordization process can be done either manually, as part of a larger process in a workflow, or as a scheduled part of a document’s retention (e.g. after 2 years).  The key here is that, when declared a record, the content doesn’t move to an archive – it stays where it is so the end users can still find and interact with the content.


Configure the Content Organizer to route documents

Create a hold to suspend documents or items

Create and apply information management policies

Create Content Organizer rules to route documents

Declare any list or library item as a record

Using a records archive versus managing records in place


In case you are not familiar with eDiscovery, it is the process of finding, preserving, analyzing and producing content in electronic formats as required by litigation or investigations. eDiscovery is an important concern for all of our customers and given that SharePoint has grown to be an integral part of collaboration, document, and records management for many organizations.

Hold and eDiscovery

Hold and eDiscovery is a site level feature that can be activated on any site. Activating this feature creates a new category in Site Settings that provides links to Holds and Hold Reports lists. There is also a page to discover and hold content that allows you to search for content and add it to a hold. Once the Hold and eDiscovery feature is activated you can create holds and add to hold any content in the site collection. By default only Site Collection administrators have access to the Hold and eDiscovery pages. To give other users permission, add them to the permissions list for the Hold Reports and Holds lists. This will also give access to the Discover and hold content page. You can manually locate content in SharePoint and add it to a hold, or you can search for content and add the search results to a hold. With the Hold and eDiscovery feature you can create holds in the hold list and then manually add content to the relevant hold by clicking on Compliance Details from the drop down menu for individual items. Click on the link to Add/Remove from hold.

By manually adding an item to hold you will block editing and deletion of that item until it is released from hold. You will notice that the document now has a lock icon showing that it cannot be edited or deleted.


Search and Process

You can manually add items to hold on any site collection, which is great. But that doesn’t help you find the content you don’t already know about. What if you have a large amount of items you want to find and add to a hold? For that you can use the features on the Discover and hold content page, which is a settings page in Site Settings. From this page you can specify a search query and then preview the results. The configured search service (SharePoint Search Server or FAST Search for SharePoint) will automatically be used. You can then select the option to keep items on hold in place so they cannot be edited or deleted, or if you have configured a Content Organizer Send to location in Central Administration you can have content copied to another site and placed on hold. You may want to create a separate records center site for a particular hold to store all content related to that hold. The Content Organizer is a new SharePoint Server 2010 feature based on the Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 Document Router with richer functionality to automatically classify content based on Content Type or metadata properties. Look for a future blog post covering the Content Organizer.

Holding content in place is recommended if you want to leave content in the location is was created with all the rich context that SharePoint provides, while blocking deletion and editing of content. Be aware that this will prevent users from modifying items. If you prefer users to continue editing documents, then use the copy to another location approach.

When searching and processing, the search will by default be scoped to the entire Site Collection and run with elevated permissions so all content can be discovered. The search can be scoped to specific sites and you can also preview search results before adding the results to a hold. Items can be placed on multiple holds and compliance details will show all of the holds that are applied to an item.

Remote Blob Storage

Cool things I discovered.

You can instruct SharePoint to generate a file plan from a library settings page  > click information policy settings >  click change source > Libraries and Folders > Generate File Plan for this library. A very nive Excel report fires up with all configuration settings for each content type in the library.