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Managing Metadata Fields

Metadata fields represent the information about a file that users think of when identifying a particular document, like the file name, the customer name, and unique identifiers such as invoice or purchase numbers or specialized codes. These bits of information, if captured, make finding the file simple and easy - even in a database of millions of files.

When adding a file to the document management system the user will select the schema they want to associate with the document by using the Document type pick list from the add document form. The schema that is selected will determine what metadata is required and the format that the metadata will take.

Metadata pane in the document management system

 

Metadata fields are created by the Library Administrator based on the needs and preferences of the organization. Metadata fields can be used in multiple schemas.

To create metadata fields

  1. In the Web Client, go to Administration Panel > Library Configuration > Metadata Fields, and click New Metadata Field.

  • Alternatively, in FDA, go to Administration > Manage Schemas > Metadata Fields and click Add Metadata Field (+ sign).

  1. In the Add Metadata Field pane, enter a Name for the metadata.

  2. Enter a Description for the metadata. The description will display as a tool tip in the metadata pane. This is useful for informing users what needs to be entered into the field. This is limited to 250 characters.

  3. Select a Field Type. Refer to the following table for more information on how to enter the field properties.

IMPORTANT: Once a metadata field has been created and saved, the field type (text, numeric, date, and so on) cannot be modified. This is one of the few things that cannot be changed in FileHold.
TIP: You cannot have duplicate metadata field names in FileHold. Simply rename the obsolete metadata field and create a new one. If the obsolete metadata field has no further value in the system, delete it.
Field Type Description
Text

Set up a text box that ranges from 1 to 4000 characters*.

1. Enter a minimum number of characters.
2. Enter the maximum number of characters that the user will be able enter in the metadata panel.
3. Enter the number of lines for the text box.
4. Enter an initial value, if applicable.

Drill Drop Down Menu

Set up option items in which users can drill down a hierarchy of options when defining metadata.

1. To enter option items, click Manage Menu Items. You can add, delete, and organize the order of the hierarchy by moving the items up and down.
2. Enter a separator type. The default is >.
3. Select Show Full Path to display the entire hierarchy of menu items.
4. Select Show Only Leaves to display the last option items in the list.
5. Enter an initial value, if applicable.

For more information, see Creating Drop-Down Metadata Fields.

Drop Down Menu – FileHold Managed

Set up a list of option items which users can select from.

1. To enter menu items, click Manage Menu Items. You can add, delete, and organize the order of the hierarchy by moving the items up and down.
2. If multiple selections are allowed, select the check box.
3. If there are duplicates in the list and would like them removed, select the check box.
4. Enter an initial value, if applicable.

For more information, see Creating Drop-Down Metadata Fields.

Drop Down Menu –Database Lookup

Set up option items to come from an external database. FileHold can look up values in a SQL database. For example, a customer is using Microsoft CRM and needs their users to associate a client with documents in the Library. The list can be displayed as a drop down menu that is dynamically populated from a central list of customers taken from the existing CRM system. If the names of the clients are already stored in a Microsoft SQL server, this lookup could be done directly. If not, the CRM system could export (on a scheduled basis) the list values from another SQL server. This will allow users to link or tag documents with clients by using a controlled list of clients that is always current.

  1. Click Manage Field Source to enter the Drop Down Menu Source database information.
  2. Enter the Server Name. The Server Name field contains the name of the machine hosting the database from which you are getting the values. The format of the server name is the name only and does not require forward slashes. If the database is hosted on the same server as FileHold, you can use (local) (include parentheses).
  3. Enter the database username and password. If you choose not to use integrated authentication and decide to enter the user name manually, the format for the database username field is just “username” (no quotes) (not ''//domain/username'). The FileHold Service Account must be the db_owner of the database being looked up. This can be done in the database software management console looking at the database Security > Logins properties.
  4. Select the database to be used from the list.
  5. Select the table to be used in the list.
  6. Select the field caption and field ID from the list. In many databases, lookup tables use both a field caption and a field ID to identify a piece of data. The field caption value is the column of the table that contains menu items for users to select from while the field ID value contains the menu item IDs. If there is only one column in the table it must contain a field caption value.
  7. If multiple selections are allowed, select the check box.
  8. Select the Remove Duplicates check box to remove any duplicate values from the metadata list.
  9. Select the Alpha Order check box to have the list alphabetically sorted.
  10. Select the Prevent Deletion check box so that existing values in metadata fields are never removed even when deleted from the source database. If disabled, any values in the source database that have been deleted will also be deleted inside of FileHold when synchronization occurs. For a deletion, this means the value will be immediately removed from any documents that may have been associated with the value. FileHold considers a deletion a permanent change in the document schema. The original value will no longer exist anywhere in FileHold.
  11. Click Preview to view a preview of the metadata field.
  12. Click Save.
  13. Select the Allow Multiple Selections check box if multiple metadata values are allowed.
  14. Enter an initial value, if applicable.
TIP: The Library Administrator may need to work with the Systems Administrator or someone with SQL Server experience to make sure that the server settings are correct and functioning.
TIP: If you receive a “Cannot connect to specified source” error, this indicates that there is a connection problem to the database. This means that the database name, server name, db admin user name or the db admin password is incorrect. It does not have to do with the select table, field caption or Field ID values. To troubleshoot this issue; confirm all database-related names are correct and ensure that the FileHold Service Account is at least a "data reader" of the MS SQL database being looked up. This can be done in Microsoft SQL Management Studio looking at the database Security > Logins properties.

For more information, see Creating Drop-Down Metadata Fields.

Date

Configure a date field for the metadata properties.

1. Select the Date Display Format.
2. Select the Initial Value for the date. You can select the current date and time or leave the field blank. It is recommended that you set this value to Blank so that the user is forced to enter the correct date instead of defaulting to the current (today’s) date and time.

TIP: Regardless of what is displayed on the screen, a date field contains the date and time down to the millisecond. You can change the default values in the date format by editing a configuration file.
Number

Set up a numeric field for the metadata properties.

1. Enter the number of Decimal Places.
2. Enter the Decimal Separator.
3. Enter the Group Separator.
4. Select an option for how Negative Numbers will be displayed.
5. Enter the Minimum Value.
6. Enter the Maximum Value.
7. Enter an initial value, if applicable.

Currency

Set up a currency field for the metadata properties.

1. Enter the number of Decimal Places.
2. Enter the Decimal Separator.
3. Enter the Group Separator.
4. Select an option for how Negative Numbers will be displayed.
5. Select a Currency Symbol from the list.
6. If the currency symbol is to be displayed in front of the amount, select the check box. Clear the check box to display the currency symbol at the end of the amount.
7. Enter the Minimum Value.
8. Enter the Maximum Value.
9. Enter an initial value, if applicable.

TIP: You can change the default values in the currency format by editing a configuration file.
Check Box

Set a check box field for the metadata properties.

1. Select on option for the check box:
• Checked – The label for the check box will be True.
• Unchecked – The label for the check box will be False.

URL

Set a URL field for the metadata properties. Users viewing the metadata will be able to click this link to open a browser windows and go to the referenced page.

1. Enter a URL link, if applicable. The protocol must be included. For example, http://www.urlname.com

IMPORTANT: There are a few character sequences that should not be used in values for metadata fields: <a through <z<!<?</, and &#. This applies to text, dropdown, drill down, and URL fields. In some cases FileHold will prevent the user from entering these values, but this is not always possible with database dropdown or database lookup fields. They could be accidentally interpreted as HTML sequences in the web client.

Add Metadata in the document management system

  1. Click Save. Once you have created all your metadata fields, you can add them to your schema.

Adding Metadata Fields to a Schema

Once you have your metadata fields created, you can then add them to the schema in order to collect the high level information about the document and search for the specific values.

TIP: A good rule of thumb is that users will be able and willing to fill out 3-6 metadata fields per schema with at least 50% of them set to “Required”. If metadata fields are not flagged as required in the schema, then users can add documents to the system without entering any tagging information. Then when you go to do a search, the document may not be found or may have less relevance in the search results. If you need a lot of non-required fields to be filled out, it is best if they can be linked to an external data source and filled out using a lookup. This way users can press a single key or click a single button to fill out all the fields.

To add metadata fields to the schema

  1. In the Available Metadata Fields list, select the field names that belong to this schema and click Add to Schema.

  2. In the Metadata Fields Used by This Schema area, do the following:

  • Visible fields are the default, so the box is checked when you first add a field. Unchecking the visible field is similar to deleting the field from the schema except you will not loose any data. If a field is not visible, it will not be available in the metadata pane, you will not be able to select it as a search criteria for this schema, you will not be able to import data using managed imports, or use metadata extraction rules to populate it. If you make a change to field visibility, you will need to rebuild the full text search index before it is reflected correctly in a CONTAINS FTS search.

  • If the field is required to be filled out by the user, select the Required check box. If the field is optional, clear the check box.

  • To have the value in the field cleared upon check in, select the Clear at Check In check box. This is useful when metadata fields such as “Comments” or “Status” needs to be changed for each version.
  • If the field should not be edited by the user, select the Read Only check box. Metadata fields are made read only after they are associated with a document schema. There can be an exception to this rule. See the permission setting “Allow the creator of a document to modify the initial value of read-only fields” in the System Administration area.

  • To set the order of the fields in the Metadata panel, select the order number from the list. For example, if you want the Name field to be first in the list, set this to order number 1. If you want the comments field to be last in the list, set this to the last available number in the list.

  • To remove the metadata, click the X.

Metadata tab in schema

  1. Click Next in the Document Schema Wizard to configure Workflow.

Editing a Metadata Field

Once a metadata field has been created and saved, the field type cannot be modified. This is one of the few things that cannot be changed in FileHold.

TIP: You cannot have duplicate metadata field names in FileHold. Simply rename the obsolete metadata field and create a new one. If the obsolete metadata field has no further value in the system, delete it.

IMPORTANT: Metadata field values are stored as plain text in the full text index. Any change, no matter how small, to a metadata field value that is used on a document will cause that document to be re-indexed. A single change to a metadata field could cause many documents to be reindexed where that metadata field or value is associated many documents. Single changes that could cause many documents to be re-indexed include adding, editing or deleting a drop down or drill down metadata field value or deleting a metadata field from a document schema. If you have a large number of documents using this metadata field, then this could take time to complete and consume significant system resources during the re-indexing process. Plan changes like this to happen outside of normal operating hours if possible. You can make metadata fields invisible on a document schema to avoid the re-indexing while removing the field from users' view.

To edit a metadata field

  1. In Web Client, go to Administration Panel > Library Configuration > Metadata Fields.

  • Alternatively, in FDA, go to Administration > Manage Schemas > Metadata Fields

  1. Double click on the metadata field name to edit. 

  2. Click Edit Field.

  3. Make any changes to the metadata field. To update a dropdown list or drill down menu, click Manage Menu Items.

  4. Click Save when finished.

edit metadata field in document management system

Deleting Metadata Fields

IMPORTANT: Deleting a metadata field is permanent and complete. All current and historical values for the metadata field will also be erased. The user will receive this warning immediately prior to deleting a metadata field that has values associated with it.

To delete a metadata field

  1. In Web Client, go to Administration Panel > Library Configuration > Metadata Fields.

  • Alternatively, in FDA, go to Administration > Manage Schemas > Metadata Fields
  1. Double click on the metadata field name to edit.
  2. Click Edit Field (Web Client only).
  3. Click Delete.
  4. At the warning message prompt, click OK. The metadata field is deleted from all associated schemas along with any values that existed prior to the deletion.