SharePoint 2013 – Record Management Overview

SharePoint now comes with Site Retention policies to complement IMP settings, allowing entire sites to be put on hold, archived and/or deleted as required. Another new feature is Site Mailboxes which replace the earlier Library email feature which was a bit pants in SharePoint 2010.

Records Management

  • Full Document Management Capabilities
  • Document ID
  • Multi-Stage Retention
  • Per-Item Audit Reports
  • Hierarchal File Plans
  • File Plan Report
  • Taxonomy and Centralized Content Types
  • Content Organizer
  • Virtual Folders – Metadata Navigation
  • In-Place Record Declaration
  • Support for tens of millions in a single record center
    • More in a distributed archive scenario

Site Based Retention: retention policies can be assigned to a site and all objects created within that site are bound by its retention policy. If organisations utilize this feature when sites are created, it will ensure the sites are managed and improve the overall governance of their SharePoint environment.

(1) Retention Period: the length of time that a record must be kept, typically a base date plus offset (i.e. Fiscal Year + 7 years)

(2) File Plan: full outline of all the documents used within an organization

(3) Records Retention Schedule: assigns a retention period to each type of document

Two approaches:

1. Records Center

Central archive for holding records (Enterprise site template), should be created in a separate site collection.

  • Easier to view all records in an organization
  • Centralized control (cross Site Collection)
  • Manual upload or custom “Send To” action, plus Content Organizer Rules
  • Content Type-based or Folder-based retention
  • Additional metadata policy, or workflow might be required for records

Once a Record Center is created, a new user group will be automatically generated by SharePoint.


Before a Records Center site can receive records, it must be configured to specify the accounts from which it accepts records.

Hint: To receive records, Content Organizer Feature must be activated in Records Center or target site.  

2. In-Place

Documents marked as records remain in their original location.

Activate In Place Records Management on Site Collection level.


  • Easier to maintain original security and findability
  • Distributed responsibility
  • “Declare Record” button in ribbon
  • Content Type-based retention only
  • No additional site provisioning required

At the end of retention period, expired documents are sent to “Records Graveyard” document library. Documents are permanently deleted on a rolling 30 day cycle.

Content Organizer

The Content Organizer can automatically do the following tasks:

  • Route documents to different libraries or folders    In effect, the Content Organizer acts as a gatekeeper for documents. Each time that a document is uploaded, the Content Organizer uses rules that you created to determine where it should move the document. Then, it routes the document to the correct library or folder, which can be located in a different site collection. Rules can be based on a combination of content types and metadata.
  • Upload all documents to a Drop Off Library . You can configure the Content Organizer to place all uploaded documents in a Drop Off Library, where metadata can be entered and a submission process completed.
  • Manage folder size    You can configure the Content Organizer to monitor the number of items in folders, and ensure that no folder contains more than a specified number of items. By default, this limit is 2500 items, and when item number 2501 arrives, the Content Organizer automatically creates a new folder and places the document in it. You can specify the number of items Content Organizer allows in a single folder.
  • Manage duplicate submissions    When a document is uploaded that already exists in the library, you can have the Content Organizer either use SharePoint versions, or change the file name by adding unique characters. This makes sure that both the existing document and the duplicate are preserved.
  • Maintain audit logs    Content Organizer can keep audit logs about a document stored with the document after it is routed.

Document routing using the content organizer. Shows several sources, and shows documents with missing metadata are returned to Drop Off Library.

Activate Content Organizer Feature on Site Level:


contentOrgSetting The Drop Off Library is created when activate the feature.

Content Organizer Settings:

  • In the Redirect Users to the Drop Off Library section, select the check box to enforce the Content Organizer. This only redirects you to the Drop-Off  Library if you attempt to upload to a library that is defined as the destination of a rule. In other words you have to somehow define the libraries that the Content Organizer will monitor. If this is disabled, the content organizer won’t work in any libraries.
  • In the Sending to Another Site section, select the check box if you want to allow rules to route documents to a different site.

Content Organizer Rules:

If users attempt to upload to a library that is a destination of a rule, the Content Organizer rule will check if the property is satisfied and upload the item to the library. Otherwise, the item will be uploaded to Drop Off Library and notice Site Admin.

Related Timer Job: Content Organizer Processing 

The Document ID Service:

  1. Provides a unique ID and URL for a document
  2. Enabled via the Document ID feature (site collection scoped)
  3. Document IDs are assigned via a Event Receiver and via a Timer Job

Activate Document ID Service Feature on Site Collection Level


Creating New “Send To” Location:

Central Admin –> General Application Settings –> External Service Connections –>Configure Send To Connections

  1. Select a web application to create a new Send To connection for it
  2. Get valid url from Content Organizer Settings of target site


Verify “Send To” URL:


Possible Problems:

  1. The Content Organizer Feature has not been activated at the target site, whether it is a Record Centre, Document Centre or a normal team site.
  2. Supplying the incorrect URL. The correct URL can be found within the Content Organizer Settings under the Submission Points header.
  3. The “Records Center Web Service Submitters For” Group. In order for an item to be submitted to your target site the server application pool account needs to be a member of this group and the group must be present.

Defining Retention Policy:

(1) Site Retention

Activate Site Policy Feature on Site Collection Level first


  1. Site Settings -> Site Collection Administration -> Site Collection Policy
  2. Retention policies allow for record declaration (in-place and archive) at key dates in the content’s lifecycle.
  3. Supports multi-stage retention policies applied using “Information Management Policies”. There can be added at the content type level.

(2) Content Type Retention

document library => List Settings =>Permissions and Management => Information manage policy settings.

Schedule how content is managed and disposed by specifying a sequence of retention stages. If you specify multiple stages, each stage will occur one after the other in the order they appear on this page.




Related Timer Job: 

  • Information management policy 
  • Expiration policy 

(3) Library and Folder Retention

document library => List Settings =>Permissions and Management => Information manage policy settings.

By default, retention is enabled within a SharePoint site collection for the Content Type but for overriding the retention schedules on folders or libraries activate the feature called“Library and Folder based retention”. Now you will be able to see the Library Based Retention Schedule.


Note: If the Library and Folder Based Retention feature is active, list administrators can override content type policies with their own retention schedules. To prevent this, deactivate the feature on the site collection.



Enable Content Type Management on Library:

Before content types can be added to a list or library, first the list or library must be set up to allow multiple content types.

List Settings –> Advanced Settings –> Allow Management of Content Types ==> Yes

New Content Type in SP2013 => Document Set

Site Settings –> Site Content Types

Activate Document Sets Feature on Site Collection Level first


Define Custom Send To Destination

Note: This is only available for Document Library and Picture Library.

Document Library –> List Setting –> Advanced Settings –> Custom Send To Destination





4 thoughts on “SharePoint 2013 – Record Management Overview

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