We have some user guides in PDF and DOC/X format on SharePoint for users to view; no end user would upload any new ones or edit existing. Should we use a document library or a list with links to the files? Thanks.
I'd just use a document library for that. You can craft various content types if needed to help classify the documents, if needed.
The list approach will just end up in a duplication of content and permissions. Maintainers will have to ensuree the links list is up to date if a file gets renamed or added. Permissions will have to be kept on 2 places.
Is there a particular requirement that you have that prompted this question?
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Ditto on @PirateEric. Also, including the documents in SharePoint will include them in Search (easily). You could add another search content source to index a file share, but why bother when you can just upload it directly into SharePoint?