Document library planning (SharePoint Foundation 2010)


Applies to: SharePoint Foundation 2010

This article describes how to plan document libraries in your Microsoft SharePoint Foundation document management solution.

In this article:

  • Determine library type

  • Plan the flow of content

  • Plan Information Rights Management

Document libraries are collections of files on SharePoint Foundation 2010 that you share with other site users. Most document management features are delivered through document libraries. As part of document management planning, you should determine the kind of document libraries that best fit your organization's needs. If you plan document libraries for multiple sites, you might have to plan the flow of content from one site to another. If you plan to use document libraries as storage locations, you can customize the Microsoft Office Professional 2010 Open dialog box and the Save dialog box to ensure that documents are stored in the preferred location.

Before reading this article, you should understand the document management process described in Document management overview (SharePoint Foundation 2010).

Determine library type

When you identify which document libraries best match your organization's needs, you might also determine that you need multiple sites or site collections. For example, if you are authoring content for publication to external customers, you might need one site in which to author and review content and a separate site, perhaps in a separate SharePoint Foundation 2010 installation, in which to publish your content.

When you plan document libraries for multiple sites, you might also have to plan how content flows from one site to another — by manual processes, workflows, or custom solutions. For more information, see Plan the flow of content, later in this article.

The following table lists typical uses of document libraries.

Library Purpose

Library in a team site

Collaboration; easy sharing of content among peers; content control, such as versioning; SharePoint Foundation 2010 search.

Library in a portal area

Content that is intended for a wider audience in the organization; similar to a library in a team site, but typically implemented by using a stricter review and approval process.

Slide library

Support for sharing, managing, and reusing Microsoft PowerPoint slides.


Do not create folders in a slide library if you know that content from this site will be deployed to another farm or site collection by using content deployment. Sites that contain slide libraries with folders cannot be imported or exported.

The following example shows how to use the analysis that you completed in the Analyze document usage section in Identify users and analyze document usage (SharePoint Foundation 2010) to help you plan document library organization for your enterprise. In this example, Contoso Ltd. delivers content to clients based on market research. The content is created primarily by consultants who operate remotely. This is performed in a cycle in which the following steps occur:

  1. A partner evaluates engagement ideas and requests for proposals.

  2. After a contract is established, a project manager assembles a team of consultants and creates an engagement-specific working site in which the results of the research are recorded and the project is completed.

  3. When the project is finished, the deliverable documents are published to a secured Internet site, where customers have access to them.

  4. The team writes best practices documents and case studies based on the project.

  5. Knowledge managers collect, organize, and archive the best practices and other documents.

  6. Deliverables, contracts, and other documents are retained as corporate records.

  7. By using the content maintained by the knowledge managers, partners evaluate opportunities and create new proposals.

The following table shows a document usage analysis for this scenario.

Documents Purpose Author Users Format

Engagement ideas and requests

Develop new customer engagements

Project leader

Sales manager; project leader



Describe a proposed customer engagement

Project leader

Project managers; project team members; customers



Commit to a consulting engagement


Project leader; project manager; sales manager; customers


Research results and project deliverable drafts

Generate documents related to the customer engagement

Project leader; project contributor; consultant

Editors; technical reviewers

.docx and other types

Deliverable documents

Generate final deliverables, probably converted from .docx format

Project leader



Best practices and case study documents

Capture organizational knowledge

Project contributor; consultant; knowledge manager

All team members

Various types

This document usage analysis suggests the following requirements:

  • Project leaders need libraries in team sites for storing engagement ideas, engagement requests, and proposal drafts.

  • Lawyers need libraries in a portal or on a centralized document management site for storing contract templates and active contracts.

  • Project leaders and contributors need libraries in team sites for authoring research results, deliverables, and case studies.

  • Customers need libraries in an Internet site for viewing final deliverables.

Plan the flow of content

Content in a document management solution is often dynamic, moving from one site to another as needed to meet users' needs. When you plan document libraries, therefore, you often plan the flow of content from one library or site to another. SharePoint Foundation includes the following ways to move content, either manually or dynamically:

  • You can create custom workflows that copy or move content from one site or library to another. A workflow guides a document through a business process and assigns tasks to participants when their role in the document's life cycle becomes active. A workflow can be designed to move a document from one site or library to another. For information about how to plan workflows, see Content type and workflow planning (SharePoint Foundation 2010) and Plan workflows (SharePoint Foundation 2010).

  • Authors can copy a document to a library in any site in which they have authoring permissions. The relationship between the source and the destination document is maintained so that the copy can be refreshed as needed.

  • By using Web Folders or Network Places, an author can manually copy or move the content of a document library from one library or site to another.

  • By using the Copy command, an author can copy documents to the Document Center site.

  • By using a custom workflow, an author can copy documents to document libraries on the Internet site.

Plan Information Rights Management

Information Rights Management (IRM) enables content creators to control and protect their documents. The contents of rights-managed documents are encrypted and supplied with a publishing license that imposes restrictions on users. These restrictions vary depending on the level of users' permissions. Typical restrictions include making a document read-only, disabling copying of text, not allowing users to save a copy of the document, or preventing users from printing the document. Client applications that read IRM-supported file types use the issuance license inside an IRM-managed document to enforce the restrictions on users who access the document.

For more information about IRM as it is implemented by Rights Management Services (RMS), see RMS FAQ (

Microsoft SharePoint Foundation 2010 supports using IRM on documents that are stored in document libraries. To add other file types, an administrator must install a protector for that file type, which is a program that controls the encryption and decryption of rights-managed documents for a type of file.

By using IRM in SharePoint Foundation 2010, you can centrally control which actions users can take on documents when the documents are opened from libraries in SharePoint Foundation 2010. This is in contrast to IRM applied to documents that are stored on client computers, where the owner of a document can choose which rights to assign to each user of the document. Use IRM on document libraries to control sensitive content that is stored on the server. For example, if you are making a document library available to preview upcoming products to other teams within your enterprise, you could use IRM to prevent the teams from publishing the content to audiences outside your organization.

When IRM is enabled on a document library and a document in an IRM-supported format is downloaded from the server to a client application, SharePoint Foundation 2010 encrypts the document and adds an issuance license. When the document is uploaded back to the server, SharePoint Foundation 2010 decrypts the file and stores it in the library in a form that is not encrypted. By only encrypting documents when they are downloaded and decrypting them when they are uploaded, SharePoint Foundation 2010 enables features such as search and indexing to operate as usual on the files in the IRM-protected document library. The IRM permissions that are applied to a document when users download it from a document library are based on each user's permissions to the content in the SharePoint Foundation 2010 security settings. The following table describes how SharePoint Foundation 2010 permissions are converted to IRM permissions.

SharePoint Foundation 2010 permissions IRM permissions

Manage Permissions, Manage Web

Full control, as defined by the client. This generally allows a user to read, edit, copy, save, and modify or remove the permissions of rights-managed content.

Edit List Items, Manage List, Add and Customize Pages

Edit, copy, and save permissions. You can optionally enable users who have these permissions to print documents from the document library.

View List Item

Read permissions. A user can read the document, but cannot copy or update its content. You can optionally enable users who have view list item permissions to print documents from the document library.


No other permissions map to IRM permissions.

See Also


Content type and workflow planning (SharePoint Foundation 2010)
Plan workflows (SharePoint Foundation 2010)
Configure Information Rights Management (SharePoint Foundation 2010)