Understanding the record center in SharePoint Online - Part 1

Understanding the record center in SharePoint Online – Part 1

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In this article, we will understand the need for a record center in SharePoint Online and depth analysis on it how exactly the record center works. Before getting into that we must understand what is a record center in the SharePoint site/library.

Key-Highlights: What you will learn from this article?

  • What is the record center in SharePoint Online?
  • How to configure the record center archiving mechanism in SharePoint Online?
  • Configure record center connection in Microsoft 365 admin center
  • How to configure “Send To Connections”?
  • How to add a new connection in record management in SharePoint Online?
  • What is the “document sets”  feature in SharePoint Online?
  • How to create document set content type in SharePoint Online?

What is the record center in SharePoint Online?

In simple words, we can say archiving the old documents to a centralized location automatically is called a record archiving process which is handled through the record center site collection.

It has various ways of using the first one could be – it is a central location for archiving. For example, you have lots of documents in the active document library that might get exhausted after certain days due to the over volume of data which might lead to the SharePoint very famous listview threshold error. In order to avoid such a situation, we need to move the old documents to another site i.e nothing but a document center. The document will be moved to the record center site based on certain conditions in the content type IRM (Information Right Management) policy – I will come to this in the upcoming section.

Other uses could be if you want to control your document system from a central location like you have a legal document, sales order document, purchase order document, finance document, sales document, etc, you want these kinds of documents to be uploaded into a central place – and the document should be routed to their respective sites automatically – this can be done using the content organizer rules configured in the record center site.

Note:

  • Once the document comes to the record library, the document gets locked, we cannot delete it – the record center mechanism does this job automatically.
  • We even can declare a document as a record on the team site as well – but we need to develop a workflow or Power Automate.
  • In document lifecycle record is the final stage, so, it gets locked.

By now we have some fair idea about what is a record center in SharePoint Online and what is the need for this. Now, we will move on to how to configure the archiving system.

How to configure the record center archiving mechanism in SharePoint Online?

Configuring the record center in SharePoint Online is three steps process:

  • Create a record center site collection
  • Configure record center connection in Microsoft 365 record center
  • Create and configure content organizer rule in the record center site collection

As part of the demo, I have created the below record center site collection.

Record center site collection in SharePoint site
Record center site collection in SharePoint site

Go to the site settings page.

From the site administration section, click on the “Content organizer settings” link.

Content organizer settings SharePoint Online record center site
Content organizer settings SharePoint Online record center site

Then we will land on the Content organizer settings configuration page.

At the bottom of this page, we could see the web service URL from the submission points section.

Note down the web service URL:

https://globalsharepoint2020.sharepoint.com/sites/TestRecordCenter/_vti_bin/OfficialFile.asmx

We need this web service URL while we will configure the record center connection in Microsoft 365 admin center – so, this is very important to keep a note of this.

Submission points web service URL in SharePoint Online record center site
Submission points web service URL in SharePoint Online record center site

Submission Points:

Use this information to set up other sites or e-mail messaging software to send content to this site.

In the below section, we will walk thru how to create a connection in record management.

Configure record center connection in Microsoft 365 admin center

Login to the SharePoint Admin Center by using the below URL:

https://globalsharepoint2020-admin.sharepoint.com/_layouts/15/online/AdminHome.aspx#/home

Then click on the more features from the left side panel.

Record management feature in SharePoint Online from Microsoft 365 admin center
Record management feature in SharePoint Online from Microsoft 365 admin center

Click on the open link from the “Record management” section.

What is records management?

Manage records in a Records Center site that serves as an archive.

 

Once we click on the “Open” link from the “Record management” section, we will get into the “send to connections” settings page, as shown below:

Send to connections in SharePoint Online records management
Send to connections in SharePoint Online records management

Send To Connections:

Send To Connections allow content to be submitted to sites with a configured Content Organizer. Send To connections will appear as locations that content can be submitted to when configuring Information Management Policy. Optionally you can make Send To Connections available for users to manually submit content.

Connection Settings:

Each connection requires a display name and a URL to a content organizer. Optionally, this connection can be made available as a Send To option on the item’s drop-down menu and on the Ribbon.

 

Add new connection in record management in SharePoint Online

In order to add a new connection for record management, we need to pass the below parameters:

  • Display name – Any valid text
  • Send To URL – Record center web service URL, which we have noted down in the previous step.
  • Allow manual submission from the send to menu – which will us to submit the document manually from the document library ribbon “send to connection” menu.

Note:

  • Generally, the documents get moved or copied (based on the configuration) to the target record library through the retention job automatically, which runs based on the SharePoint online timer job scheduler, and when this job runs – it varies from the tenant to tenant and region to region which is really time-consuming process, we need to wait a couple of days or weeks to run this jobs automatically. So, if you want to test the connection or send the documents on demand, then we can make use of this “Allow manual submission from the send to menu” feature.
  • There are two options in the “Send to action” drop-down menu, copy and move, where copy is selected by default, in this demo we have selected the “Send to action” as to move.
  • The copy connection will copy the active documents to the target record center archiving library and the move connection will move the active documents to the target record center archiving library.

 

Configure Send To URL in SharePoint Online record management
Configure Send To URL in SharePoint Online record management

Then, finally, click on the “Add connection” button.

We can see that the newly created connection has been listed out in the “Send to Connections” box.

Update connection in SharePoint Online record management
Update connection in SharePoint Online record management

The next would be to create the content type for the actual content in the active site.

Before that, we need to activate the document sets site collection level feature – as we will be dealing with the document set content type.

Go, to the site settings page for the given site -> Click on the site collection features

Find the “Document Sets” feature and click on the activate button.

Activate document sets site collection feature
Activate document sets site collection feature

By the way, what is the “document sets”  feature in SharePoint Online?

The document sets feature in SharePoint Online provides the content types required for creating and using document sets. Create a document set when you want to manage multiple documents as a single work product.

Create document set content type in SharePoint Online

Go to the site settings page -> Site Content Content Types -> Click on the create button.

Then enter the below details:

  • Name – Any valid text for content type
  • Description – this is optional, you could describe the content type what about it.
  • Parent Content Type from as “Document Set Content Types”
  • Parent Content Type as “Document Set”
  • For Group either you could select as an existing group or can create a new one.

 

Create document set content type in SharePoint Online
Create document set content type in SharePoint Online

Note:

  • Until we activate the “Document sets” site collection level feature, we will not get the option to create the content type with the type of Document Set.

Then click on the “Ok” button.

Finally, my custom document set content type look like below:

Document set content type settings in SharePoint Online
Document set content type settings in SharePoint Online

Summary: What we had here?

Thus, in this article, we have learned the below with respect to configuring the record center arching in SharePoint Online:

  • What is the record center in SharePoint Online?
  • How to configure the record center archiving mechanism in SharePoint Online?
  • Configure record center connection in Microsoft 365 admin center
  • How to configure “Send To Connections”?
  • How to add a new connection in record management in SharePoint Online?
  • What is the “document sets”  feature in SharePoint Online?
  • How to create document set content type in SharePoint Online?

See Also

You may also like the below IRM article:

In my next part 2 article, I will bring many more real-time issues and how to deal with them with respect to working with the record center site in SharePoint Online, till then enjoy reading, keep smiling, stay positive and stay tuned. 🙂