Early last year when I created my SharePoint 2010 Records Management Wishlist, one of the first items I included on the list was a unique and persistent records identifier. MOSS 07 used a document’s URL as its identifier, but this proved not only unwieldy (it was typically an enormous string of incomprehensible characters), it was also impractical because the URL changed whenever the document’s location changed.
A unique and persistent identifier was possibly the most glaringly obvious omission from the MOSS 07 ECM/RM infrastructure. One that had Records Managers all over the world scratching their heads wondering whether Microsoft really had a complete grasp of document and records management fundamentals.
Well, good news! Apparently Microsoft was listening to me. (OK, more likely me and about a million other MOSS 07 users – but I won’t nitpick.) SharePoint 2010 includes a Document ID Service that allows you to create a unique identifier that travels with your document from creation to final disposition without ever changing.
The Document ID service creates a ‘Document ID’ column in the SharePoint 2010 Document Content Type. The Document ID column is available in any document Library throughout the site collection. In addition, the Document ID service allows you to specify a set of 4-12 characters that will be used at the beginning of the identifier. This prefix can be used to ensure that records from different site collections will never be assigned the same Document ID.
When configured, this is what a Document ID looks like:
Here’s how you setup Document IDs in SharePoint 2010:
Go to Site Actions and select ‘Site Settings’.
Under Site Collection Administration, select ‘Site collection features’.
Click on ‘Activate’ to enable the Document ID Service.
Return to Site Collection Administration and you should see a new option, ‘Document ID settings’.
Click on ‘Document ID settings’ and check the option to ‘Assign Document IDs’. This is where you can also add the optional 4 – 12 character ID prefix. You can also set the search scope for the ID. (As this is likely to be a critical field, it’s probably a good idea to set this value to ‘All Sites’.)
The process of assigning Document IDs is managed by a timer job, which means documents aren’t assigned IDs immediately. So don’t expect to see Document IDs as soon as you create the document.
Also, if you have documents that existed prior to enabling the Document ID service, you will have to check them out and back in again before they are assigned IDs.