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Doc libraries vs attachments to list items

  Asked By: Chaim    Date: May 21    Category: Sharepoint    Views: 19739

WSS 2.0 here:

I seldom attach documents to list items. I have some folks who do
this all of the time. I decided to try and come up w/ a pros and
cons list so folks would be aware of everything before getting
started and going down the wrong path. Can someone who remembers the
last version (anyone?) look this over and let me know if it seems
accurate? I really appreciate it!

Background info: This was drafted for a specific need to collect
documents for editing; the editorial staff wanted a way to collect
documents and required info about the documents, deadlines, etc.,
instead of the current process where staff will simply email
documents that need to be edited and they don't provide the
necessary details about those docs.

Using a List format w/ document attachments:

1. contributors can only edit their own forms/documents (if you
set permissions that way in the list's general settings)
2. attachments are stored in folders based on ID# of list item
(helps with security at item level)
3. option to allow only "additions" and not allow editing after
the list item is submitted the first time (if you don't want folks
to be able to edit their items)

1. awkward editing document attachments (Do you move them to a
document library? Do you replace the current attachment w/ your new,
edited version? What if the originator saves over your edited copy
you saved? Should you rename all files when you begin the editing
process by preceding w/ "EDITED" or something similar to avoid
saving over edited attachments?)
2. originator has to remember to "attach file" and it's harder
to replace the file than if you use a document library to collect
the initial document and info
3. even when replacing the file, no check in, check out options
available, no version history; not nearly as nice as features in a
document library
4. harder to locate the document- you have to know which item
it's attached to!

Using a Document Library:

1. all in one place (any necessary columns to store metadata,
original document, final edited doc, etc.); the document is where it
needs to be for editing staff to begin work; does not need to be
copied/moved to another library
2. process done all at once (no need to remember to
click "attach file")
3. even if someone makes inappropriate changes, you have the
option to restore a previous version using version history
(including the metadata assigned to it at the original time it was

1. any contributor can view/edit ANY document in the list
2. giving folks the ability to fill out the "form" allows them
access to edit it, save over it, and edit/access/save over other
people's stuff as well. This can be good unless they edit someone
else's document and/or save over it (then we'd have to use version
history to try to restore the previous version)



1 Answer Found

Answer #1    Answered By: Jaime Weaver     Answered On: May 21

I would say that the biggest hiccup in WSS v2, and I think you've got it
notated below, is the capability that document libraries  have in being able
to do "versioning" whereas the list  is just the single instance and nothing
more - thank you Microsoft for adding this capability in WSS v3.

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