Basically I want to build a knowledge based library for our company. The general requirements are as follow:-

  1. Each department need to store their documents and procedures as Wikis inside SharePoint.
  2. Each department will have different user permissions on who can add, edit, delete, view and follow their wiki.
  3. Each department will have different term store and categories for categorizing their wikis.
  4. Users should be able to search all the wikis contents within all departments.

When I started implementing this project I follow these steps:-

  1. I create a new web application.
  2. I create a wildcard managed path named “WikiLibrary”.
  3. I have created a site collection named “home” based on the publishing site- enterprise wiki template.
  4. Then for each department I created new sub site under the home site collection.

But now I am confused if it will be better to create new site collection (instead of sub sites) for each department, since that will give me more control over the permissions , term stores and search. So I can do something such as instead of the above steps:-

  1. Create a new web application.
  2. Create a wildcard managed path named “WikiLibrary”.
  3. Create a site collection for each department based on the publishing site- enterprise wiki template.

So which approach I should follow and which can satisfy my general requirements for each department which are (Permissions, term store, and general search that combine all the departments’ wiki contents together)?? Thanks in advance for any advice. BR

1 Answer 1


It's hard to say as you did not specify number of users, number of wiki entries and overall planned size of these libraries. I would only opt. for separate site collections if you will have more than of 200 GB of content in each wiki.

This is how I would design it it:

  1. Create a single site collection with a home page (root site)
  2. Grant everyone permissions to read (Group Visitors) on the root site
  3. Create subsites for each department, grant special permissions like contribute.
  4. You must ensure Visitors from the top site still have Read permissions, otherwise search will not work for them.

The downsides of having multiple site collections:

  • Overhead with permissions management (no inheritance)
  • Cannot share navigation with other sites
  • thanks but what about having separate term stores hierarchy for each department (in this case for each sub site) is it possible?
    – John Peter
    May 20, 2013 at 13:49
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    I am not big fan and expert on taxonomies, but AFAIK you can only have one per site collection. However when you create a column you can limit values i.e. Term Set that can be used. In anycase even with this limitation I would still go for a single site collection. May 20, 2013 at 13:59
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    i was able to define unique site navigation for each sub-site and also i was able to define unique Wiki column from the library setting. so in this way i am going to have each dept as sub-site not as site collection. thanks for your help.
    – John Peter
    May 24, 2013 at 10:41
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    Another benefit to using sub-sites is that Master Pages, Page Layouts and Display Templates are site collection specific, so these sub sites would inherit them. If you had seperate site collections and say a Display Template changed you would have to deploy the new Display Template to each site collection.
    – EHorodyski
    May 29, 2013 at 12:53

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