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SharePoint Migration Tip: Use “untagged data” Views For Incremental Migration

In one or my very first blog posts, I described the overall process we followed to migrate a customer from SPS 2003 to MOSS.  A reader left a comment asking for more detail and here it is.

For that migration project, we had to find a good way to move a lot of SPS 2003 documents over to MOSS.  The initial load was easy enough.  Create a new target document library in MOSS and use windows explorer to move the documents.

This is the new document library:

Open up two windows explorers.  Point the first at SPS 2003 and the second at the new document library in MOSS.  The following screen shot shows this.  Note that the top browser is actually pointing at my c:\temp drive, but you can imagine it pointing to an SPS 2003 document library:

After that drag and drop operation, my target looks like this:

Now it’s time to deal with the metadata.  Assume we have just one column of metadata for these documents named "location."  We can see from the above "all documents" view that the location is blank.  It’s easy enough to use a data sheet view to enter the location, or even go into each document’s properties one by one to add a location.  Let’s assume that there is no practical way to assign the location column a value automatically and that end users must do this by hand.  Furthermore, let’s assume there are hundreds of documents (maybe thousands) and that it will take many many days to update the metadata.  As we all know, no one is going to sit down and work for four of five days straight updating meta data for documents.  Instead, they will break that out over a period of weeks or possibly longer.  To facilitate this process, we can create an "untagged data" view as shown:

Now, when someone sits down to spend their allocated daily hour or two to tag migrated documents, they can use the "untagged documents" view to focus their effort:

As users tag documents, they drop off this list.

This notion of an untagged data view can also help with a class of data validation problem people inquire about on the forums.  Out of the box, there’s no way to prevent a user from uploading a document to MOSS and then not enter meta data.  We can specify that a particular site column is mandatory and the user won’t be allowed to push the save button.  However, if the user uploads and then closes the browser (or uses windows explorer to upload the document), we can’t force the user to enter meta data (again, out of the box).

This approach can be used to help with that situation.  We can use a "poorly tagged data" view to easily identify these documents and correct them.  Couple this with a KPI and you have good visibility to the data with drill-down to manage these exceptional circumstances.

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