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I've viewed the files out there about this subject but am not getting the answer as it applies to my specific circumstance. Hoping somebody can guide me in making this decision. Our company has various departments that we would like to have separate documents. We would like everyone in the organization to be able to read / edit some global documents that apply to everyone, but then only be able to edit their own, but see everyone's documents. Some individual people play a role in more than one department. A small group of members need to have edit capability to all documents no matter what department the document resides. Choices I can see, but don't quite understand are:

  • Separate subsites for each department with a group assigned to each subsite
  • One library with folders underneath withe permissions set at the individual level
  • One site with different libraries set up for each department with individuals assigned permissions specific to that library.

Example: chris, terra, frank need access to edit all documents everywhere

lance, katherine, paul, Don etc. need to be able to edit the education department's documents

Cedro, Don, Bill need need to be able to edit the networking department's documents

Don belongs to both the education and networking department.

I want Cedro, Don and Bill to be able to view, but not edit, documents in the education department.

I want Lance, Katherine and Paul to be able to view, but not edit, documents in the networking department.

There are some documents that Chris, Terra and Frank need access to, but that are sensitive and nobody else should be able to view or edit.

Thoughts?

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So this is going to be a long one. Get a cup of coffee :) Here are few suggestions and that could work.

"Our company has various departments that we would like to have separate documents."

Most obvious choice is creating site collections instead of sub-sites for each department. I say this because, I believe,

  1. You would require isolation between documents of department. So for example, say you have 100 people in Department 1 and 200 in Department 2 You don't want those 100 from department 1 to Edit documents of department 2 and vice versa.
  2. If on some later day Users of department 1 should be able to view documents of department 2 you can create a group, say department 1 users and give read rights to all users. (This would not solve your problem of some users being able to edit all documents. I'll come to that in a bit)

Advantages :

  1. Easier permission management
  2. Isolation of content.
  3. Structuring content the way an organization is structured.

"We would like everyone in the organization to be able to read / edit some global documents that apply to everyone"

For this you could create a dedicated document library either at the root site collection or probably all site collection and give permissions for Everyone to read/edit Here you could think about structuring your content in a way like below

  • If you are in the common document library @ the root site collection then everyone in the organization can view/edit those documents
  • If you are in the common document library @ a site collection of department 1 everyone from department 1 can view/edit those documents

"but then only be able to edit their own, but see everyone's documents"

For this you would need to have an event receiver that breaks user permissions and sets it according to your needs. Here you could do follow an approach where the event receiver does the following

  • Remove all permissions for edit of all users except owner
  • Additionally, provide permission to users of Group A to edit the documents too. (We would need to do this because a small group of users need to be able to edit everything)

"Some individual people play a role in more than one department. A small group of members need to have edit capability to all documents no matter what department the document resides."

To achieve this create a group where these users belong and give rights on each library when you break them (similar to example above) Do not do this without creating groups. Adding individual users will quickly become unmanageable.

Update

Additional information :
Edit only owned list items in Windows Sharepoint Services 3.0

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