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From here, I'm under the impression that SharePoint sites built off the "Document Center" or "Records Center" site templates have document libraries and lists that are exempt from the standard 5,000-item List View Threshold:

You can use a Document Center site when you want to create, manage, and store large numbers of documents. A Document Center is based on a site template and is designed to serve as a centralized repository for managing many documents.

Also, the table at this link shows "No explicit content database limit" for Document Centers and Records Centers.

I built a test Document Center site, then added a document library and uploaded 3500 blank text files - this triggered the standard "list view threshold" message. I was really hoping this would go away with the Document Center site template... can't see how it wouldn't.

Am I doing something wrong here?

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up vote 1 down vote accepted

You can change the threshold in Central Administration, it is applied to the entire web app. Go to: Central Admin -> Manage Web Applications -> select your web app (probably "SharePoint - 80") -> click the General Settings drop-down -> Resource Throttling

In there you will see the list view threshold and several options relating to it. Note that this applies to all users, so if you bump it up it can cause performance issues if your users are doing things that involve viewing large amounts of list items. I would advise changing it back to the default when you are done, or using object model code to do your queries if you can, because it can bypass the normal limit.

Cheers!

Edit: It seems the limitation on large lists is more due to SQL than SharePoint itself (this is a good description of the effects, though it specifically applies to lookup fields, but the principles are the same). Basically there is a dramatic difference in the amount of CPU power required by SQL to handle large queries. There's a very thorough article here describing the effects of large queries and outlining several methods for how to deal with them, like indexing and SP Workspace.

While SP is meant for handling large repositories of documents, there are still physical limitations of the hardware itself to consider. I would assume that with a large and well-structured enough farm with bleeding-edge hardware you could theoretically handle all the data you want in a single list, but the cost will increase exponentially for obvious reasons. I would recommend re-tooling your design to spread the data across multiple libraries, then using something like a customized content query web part to pull sets of records as needed from all locations.

You're also going to start running into the size limitations for databases. There's a pretty solid 200GB limit that Microsoft strongly recommends you do not exceed. An alternative may be something like storing the data on a local file system, then using a file share navigator inside SP (like the one made by AvePoint) to browse/index/tag it. I'm not sure about the limitations of that software, but I'm sure they would be happy to explain it to you if you ask.

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Note - This does require access to Central Admin, obviously, so if you're not authorized to do so you will have to talk to the administrator or whoever controls CA. –  thanby Feb 11 '13 at 19:31
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Thanks for your answer! I'm aware of resource throttling specific to the whole web app, but I thought a Document Center could be a site-specific solution. That would be ideal because the web app would still be subject to the 5,000 item limit, only the Document Center would be exempt. Sounds like this assumption is wrong, however... Looks like I have to pursue something like this, unless you have a better idea??? –  rgmatthes Feb 11 '13 at 19:38
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Ah I see, yeah I'm not aware of another way around it so if you want it completely disabled for that site only you'll have to use the PowerShell script on each list in it (or similar, like a c# app). What's the scenario here? –  thanby Feb 11 '13 at 21:18
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I'm building a Document Center for company contracts and a possible Record Center for archiving (but we might do in-place records management in the Document Center). We'll have at least 50,000 items by EOY, with an unpredictable number being referenced and updated actively. I keep reading capacity planning guides claiming SharePoint support for huge quantities of files, but the only real path to that seems to be through some blog's custom code. I keep thinking I'm missing an obvious solution here! –  rgmatthes Feb 12 '13 at 14:47
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