Sharepoint 2013 : The Managed Metadata Service (part 4) - Term Sets

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Term Sets

A term set provides the container for terms. Later in this chapter, you will see how term sets bind to managed metadata columns in content types and lists so that users may choose from a set of term values in a given term set for the data of a column.

  1. Create a new term group, per the previous section, if you have not already done so.
  2. Click the drop-down arrow on the Group node to contain a new Term Set.
  3. Click the New Term Set menu item.
  4. SharePoint displays the term set properties pane, like that of Figure 7.


Figure 7. Term Store Management Tool—term set properties

Notice, when you clicked the arrow on the group to create a term set, you had the option to import term set data from a Comma-Separated Values (CSV) file. The Term Store Management Tool also allows you to import a whole set of groups, term sets, and terms at the top level of the term store. Importing data for your term store is very powerful and a must-have feature when deploying SharePoint—it makes for happier content owners if they do not have to type in lots of term store data whenever you deploy a new SharePoint farm.

On the properties pane of the term set, you may change the name of the term set and the description. The owner (typically the person who created the term set) is the person with full control of the life cycle of the term set. The term set owner and term store administrators may make significant structural changes to the terms in the term set.

Stakeholders are those users who receive e-mail notification when the term set owner or term store administrator makes changes to the term set. Imagine you have a body of people who want to monitor the evolution of terms for a given term set—these people would be the stakeholders.

The submission policy governs whether the term set allows users to add new terms to the set from managed metadata site columns. By default, SharePoint creates the term set as closed and assumes the term set owner and stakeholders wish tight management of the terms in the taxonomy term set. Toggling the policy to open allows users’ and programmatic addition of terms in the set—edging more toward folksonomy than taxonomy behavior.

The property to set the term set as “Available for Tagging” tells SharePoint whether to show the term values in the managed metadata site column UI when a user starts typing a term value. The “Custom Sort” property allows the term set owner to custom sort the order of the terms contained in the set—alphabetical order may not always make sense to users for certain term sets.


Terms are the actual values used in managed metadata site columns for the value chosen from a defined set—the term set. For example, the term set might include terms for food such as fruits. In the site, a user would see the list of fruits to choose from, and the SharePoint user interface will limit the list of available terms as the user types the first few letters of a known term.

SharePoint supports nesting of term values, enabling the creation of a complete taxonomy of terms. For most, the grouping and term sets, constituting the first two levels of the taxonomy, followed by a list of terms in each term set, is enough for a rudimentary taxonomy. However, with additional nested terms you can create some quite elaborate taxonomies.

Figure 8 shows some term values I created by clicking the arrow on the right of a term set and selecting the option to create a new term.


Figure 8. Creating a new term

A term has an expected name and description property, designated language, option for tagging, and other labels or properties. The language property is important—term set owners may designate certain term values for specific languages. For example, when viewing the site in French, users would see a different set of term values from users viewing the site in English.

The option to make a term available for tagging allows the owner to determine whether a particular term value shows up in the UI of choices for managed metadata site columns.

The Other Labels property provides synonym capability for the term. For example, SPS is a synonym for SharePoint Server. If a user selects the term value as SPS in a managed metadata site column, SharePoint understands that the value SPS corresponds to the SharePoint Server term.

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