For past couple of months, I have been working on large implementation of Records Center site in SharePoint 2007. During this time, I have come across few features in Records Center site template that are quite different from a regular SharePoint site template such as Collaboration and Team site template. Obviously, the Records Center comes with Hold infrastructure that consists of Holds List and Record Routing List, but these features make document library function differently. I spent considerable amount of time trying to research why document libraries are not functioning the way I would expect them in a Team or a Collaboration Site. There is nothing wrong in functionality, it is just that there is not much information around how document libraries in Records Center function differently in Records Center

I hope by sharing my information, people implementing Records Center can save time researching on this topic.

1. Cannot save library as Template:

When you create a new document library, you will notice that it functions the same way as you would expect a document library to function. Things get little different as soon as you have a single document put on hold. The first thing you will notice that “Save document library as template” link disappears from Settings. Even before a document is placed on hold, if you click on that link and save the document library as template, you will not see the template in the Create screen. In short, you cannot save document libraries as template and use the template to create new document library.

Interestingly, you could create a List Template Feature and publish a library template. You are just not allowed to do it using User Interface.

2. Library Permission inheritance is broken:

A new document library, by default, inherits permission from Site Collection. When you go to Document Library –> Settings –> Document Library Settings –> Permissions for document library, you will see that permissions are inherited and not broken. However, as soon as you create a Record Routing entry with location pointing to your document library, the permission inheritance is broken. So adding new users / groups in site collection, will not make it the library.

3. Cannot Delete Document Library:

Similar to point 1, Delete this document library link disappears from document library settings screen as soon as a Routing Entry is created in Record Routing List that points to new document library. This means, you will not be able to delete the document library as long as the library has a document with hold, or there is a routing entry in Record Routing List that points to document library. As soon as the Record Routing entry is deleted, you will notice that Delete this document library link appears in the Document library settings. One other important point to note is that the user deleting the routing entry should be Site Collection administrator. If the routing entry is deleted by non Site collection administrator, then the delete link is not brought back.

4. Record Routing List:

Several activities happen behind the scene when a new Record Routing entry is created. Before we get to that, it is important to note that Record Routing List is supposed to be managed only by Site Collection Administrators. This list’s permission does not inherit from Site Collection. By default, this list has Viewers and Records Center Web Service Submitters with View Only and Read permission respectively. You could add  a SharePoint group or a user to the library with Full Control or Contribute permission, and that will allow that group / user to add, edit and delete entries. However, deleting a routing entry will not bring back Delete this document library link in the document library. See point 3 for more details.

When a new routing entry is created, the document library that is specified in the Location goes through few changes:

a. Permission inheritance is broken for the document library (See point 2)

b.. Save this document library as template link disappears from Document Library Settings. This link anyways is of no help (see point 1)

c. Delete this document library link disappears from Document Library Settings (See point 3).

5. Release Active Hold:

I, like many others, assumed that if a user has contribute permission on the Holds list, the user could Add, Edit a new hold or Release an existing hold. Though Add and Edit is possible using Contribute permission, Release hold requires Manage List permission level checked.

Based on all the above findings, I have concluded that Record Routing List should always be managed by Site Collection Administrator. Though, this is not obvious in the tool as you can add other users in the permissions, it causes unexpected behaviors in document libraries.

After thinking about the working of Records Center, I believe the way it is designed is aligned with how a Records department works in an organization. There are typically number of attorneys grouped by area of specialty responsible for a litigation. Also there are only few Records Manager responsible for all litigation holds. Litigations are sensitive in nature and therefore shared with only handful of people that are working on a particular litigation.

When a routing entry is created, permission inheritance is broken in the library. This ensures that any new user or a group added to site collection do not get access to the content that are held for litigation. Save library as template is disabled to prevent content on hold to be saved  as template. Delete this document library is disabled to prevent even Site Collection Administrators from deleting content or library that is being held until the hold is released. Though attorneys are responsible for individual holds that they manage, they are not allowed to add, delete or change record routing entries. Record Routing entries have global impact (in context of Records Center), as content from multiple content type can be routed to single library. Therefore, only handful of users – Site Collection Administrators – are responsible to Record Routing entries.

Hope some people saves time by reading this.