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.
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:
- The structure of an organization
- The physical location or address of a department, organization, or building
- Other businesses and contacts
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:
- If the main function of a department is working with projects, you could create a folder for each project.
- If the function of a department is dealing with other businesses and people in other companies, you could use business and contact names to define the folder structure for that department.
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.
- Defining document types and metadata in an EDRMS
- Components of an Electronic Document Management System
- EDRMS: The difference between documents and records