Defining folder structures in an EDRMS

Learn what folders are used for in document management and what types of folder structures you can create in an EDRMS.

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The use of folders in document management

Once you have defined the document types and metadata for managing documents, you will need a way to categorize and group the documents. Folders are used as a storage mechanism in document management; they are used as containers to group and store documents.

Folders should be created in such a way that they are intuitive and easy for users to browse when trying to locate documents. The main goal of using folders is to categorize documents and create a logical structure so that documents can be easily found and retrieved at a later stage.

Folders should mimic the way an organization stores equivalent paper-based documents.

Defining the structure of folders

Folders generally follow a hierarchical structure having one top-level folder which then contains subfolders on several different levels.

When you create a folder structure for the purpose of document management, you must create a structure that suits the needs of the people who will be saving documents to and retrieving documents from those folders.

There are 4 types of folder structures you could create. A folder structure could be based on:

  1. The structure of an organization
  2. The physical location or address of a department, organization, or building
  3. Other businesses and contacts
  4. Projects

You are not bound to using only one folder structure, but could combine several structures to form a hybrid storage solution.

For example, you could start by creating a folder structure based on the structure of an organization and use the organization’s name for the top-level folder.

On the second level you could list all of the departments within the organization as subfolders under the top-level folder.

On the third level of folders you could let the function or activities of each department further determine the folder structure, for example:

How does this translate to SharePoint?

SharePoint uses Document Libraries to store documents. Within Document Libraries, you can create a hierarchy of folders that will suit the needs of an organization where EDM is concerned. Document Libraries and folders will be discussed in greater detail in future articles.

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