Large Folders - pros and cons

Hi All,

Interested to hear the pros and cons of having 'large folders' in Content Manager.  We have some record types that are limited to 300 documents (from when CM was set up 12 years ago).  However, I'm finding that in today's electronic world 300 documents in a container is extremely easy to do.  In containers limited to 300 we then implement an automated part rule, that makes new parts.  In some containers we have hundreds of automated parts!  What's worse thousands of records in one container or hundreds of new part containers?  We are finding that it confuses users when a new part is automatically created!

We have some folders (with no restrictions) that have thousands of documents in them.  I'm aware that there could be administrative issues when doing bulk changes or when preparing to dispose of - but apart from that are there any other issues?

Kind regards,


  • Suggested Answer

    Hi Kaye,

    The big issue on why the 300 recommended limit was present was any automatic date calculations based on triggers could become quite 'server intensive' when the contained items reached a significant account. Similar, when records are retrieved, if properties like 'All Contents' are visible on the preview pane, then the retrieval for records in searches can become longer as more data needs to be processed and retrieved to populate visual elements.

    From the latest CM10.1 Limitations and Behaviours:

    As a side question, how is the event processing on your server looking when items get added to these large containers?

    Aside from the system considerations, i like to think about the end-user 'usability' side.

    How are users supposed to find anything easily in a container with 1000 items it them?

    Is this just a process where the user knows that if they receive form Y in an email inbox, they save it in the 'catch all container' matching record number XYZ? Do users work with their active documents on the network drive but then just save everything in a single container so they can say that 'records management' is taken care of?

    Coming at it from a business process perspective may shed light on why these containers exist in the first place. It could very well be possible that a better file structure or slightly changed business process may alleviate the need for 1000+ items in a container, but also provide the added benefit of making things easier to find and manage in the long run for the users.

    How is the average end user finding items in these large containers when they need to go looking? Are there reference numbers in titles? Are items in these containers matched up with another business system and CM is just the document repository?

    Just like a network drive, if i see a folder with 1000+ items in it, i typically tend to think there could be a better process that makes things easier for everyone.

    "What's worse thousands of records in one container or hundreds of new part containers?"
    Honestly? I'd say both are not great and look for a 3rd option. 


  • Hi Scotty,

    Thanks for the reply and suggestions.

    In reply to some of your questions:

    *event processing works well - we haven't had any side effects from this that are noticeable.

    *how do users find anything?  We are big on making sure that titling is meaningful and therefore the way that we find records/information is by searching.  Even if titling is bad we can search on system metadata such as creator, date created, location and classification, which is always helpful.  We rarely go into containers and then track down on individual records.

    *Yes - most of the time these are linked folders between Outlook and Content Manager.  We assist in the setting up and ensure that the 'classification' is correct on the container level.  I don't expect CM users to have the expert knowledge that we as Information Management professionals have - so my mantra is to make it as easy as possible for the end user.  Sometimes that means more work for us - but I accept that as part of our professional role.

    *The file structure is worked out with the user.  Yes I would admit that sometimes we could do better than this, but we are also working with legacy systems and philosophies that make a transformation tricky.  However, we could do better and it most definitely could be a solution.  The problem is that if we expand the number of containers that a user works with, the mapping between Outlook and CM becomes onerous and also prone to problems (if there are too many check in styles).

    *When it comes to disposal - the decision is made on the container level.   We will do an appraisal through the running of reports on individual records but it's not intensive.  If classification of documents has been correct then we will destroy based on the container.

    I also compare this to how we do disposal and appraisal in Microsoft Office products - because of the volume we have had to go to 'big buckets' of retention criteria.  I'm finding more and more in this electronic world that this is the way that we need to go.  Spending less time and expertise on the smaller retention (often less risk) items and more on the medium to permanent items (often higher risk/value).