I'm trying to figure out if I am better off using Managed Metadata or a Site Column in my SharePoint Online implementation.

One piece of metadata we want to store for documents is a Building, identified by a street address. That's relatively straight forward for either method.

But we also have some other attributes of each Building that we would like to use in search queries and/or refiners. For example, for a given building, we know the name of it's Office Park name and it's Property Manager name. We do not want to specify these things as metadata on documents, because they should known by simply specifying the Building address.

I can use Managed Metadata, and create a Term for each Building address. I see that there are Custom Properties available on a Term, and that looks like a nice place to store Business Park and Property Manager for each building. But can I use those Custom Properties as refiners and/or in document search queries? I don't see where this can be done.

I can use a Site Column that references a lookup list of Buildings stored in the root of the site collection. The lookup list can have the Building Address, and fields for Business Park and Property Manager in the list. Then in the Site Column, I can choose those fields as additional fields, so the site column will create Buildings:Business Park and Buildings:Property Manager fields in the document library using the Site Column. And I think I can create a Managed Property from those in my Search Schema so they can be used as refiners in addition to Building. (Correct?)

The problem with the Site Column is that I would need to create it, and maintain the Lookup list, in every site collection that needs to use it. I could use the Content Type Hub, but it doesn't work well with Lookup columns - I would need to create the Lookup list for Buildings in every site collection. That's kind of OK, I can sync those with PowerShell scripts.

Question: If I have a Site Column named Buildings in multiple site collections, can I set up a Crawled Property and Managed Property using the name (i.e. ows_Building) and have it crawl that same column in every site collection? That is, if the column is named the same thing in each site collection, does it see it as the same field (they would all have different GUIDs)?

Can I create Crawled Properties and Managed Properties from the additional fields in the Lookup list? (For example, Buildings:Business Park)?

All in all, I would like to use Managed Metadata, but the additional custom attributes has me doubting where I can meet the requirements.

1 Answer 1


I know this is a really old post, but I have come across similar issues and thought there might be others.

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