Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 extends document and content management with content types. A content type is a collection of settings that you can apply to a type or category of content. Content types allow you to centrally create and configure properties for sets of data, such as the metadata associated with a certain type of content. For example, you can centrally define the metadata for all pictures within a site collection by using a picture content type, regardless of where those pictures are stored in that site collection. Those pictures might be stored in a picture library on Site A or a picture library on Site B, but the metadata defined for the picture content type applies to either, or both, of those locations.
SharePoint Server 2007 also offers the flexibility to further customize content types at the site and list levels throughout an entire site collection. For example, it gives you the ability to create a new content type for a specific site or add metadata to a content type within a list or document library. You can define custom optional settings for each content type, such as a specific workflow or auditing, to further refine your reporting capabilities.
This chapter describes what content types are and how you can effectively manage your content and store documents using content types. It shows you how content types can be leveraged to extend content functionality, such as workflow.