1 Introduction to Oracle WebCenter Content

This chapter provides a general introduction to Oracle WebCenter Content and describes some of the many benefits to your organization WebCenter Content provides.

This chapter includes the following topics:

1.1 About This Guide

This guide details how to use Oracle WebCenter Content. It is divided into the following parts:

Part I provides overview information about Oracle WebCenter Content and content management and includes concepts common to all ways of working with WebCenter Content. Part II provides information about accessing Oracle WebCenter Content from a web interface and through your desktop applications.

The information contained in this document is subject to change as the product technology evolves and as hardware, operating systems, and third-party software are created and modified. Due to the technical nature of browsers, databases, web servers, and operating systems, Oracle cannot warrant compatibility with all versions and features of third-party products.

1.2 What is Oracle WebCenter Content

Oracle WebCenter Content manages information you use every day, found in e-mails, reports, memos, slide presentations, and more. Oracle WebCenter Content stores it, organizes it, and secures it so that only the people needing the information have access to it. And most importantly, it helps you find it quickly when you need it and view it through a standard web browser, even if you do not have the software that created the document.

1.3 Benefits of Using WebCenter Content

Communication fuels organizations and helps them effectively coordinate and execute everything from global business plans to personal task lists. Necessary information in today's organizations is captured in office documents, personal e-mail, memos, video conferences, and a variety of other types of unstructured content. Left unmanaged, critical information is lost, business processes become strained, the right people don't have the right access to documents, and you make poor decisions based on inaccurate and outdated information. Oracle WebCenter Content lets you find critical information in a comfortable environment, with applications you already use every day.

Designed for You

You can contribute documents using a standard web browser, but also through Windows Explorer and familiar desktop applications such as Microsoft Word, Excel, and Outlook. You can route a critical contract through a workflow, allow others to see the latest design specifications, or upload a training video for your team. Oracle WebCenter Content brings you the ability to find and view content in a variety of ways using Windows Explorer, or your favorite web browser.

Saves You Time

How many hours have you spent trying to find one critical bit of information about a project, customer, or legal challenge? Was it in an e-mail? Did you see it in a slide presentation? Oracle WebCenter Content brings a powerful way of searching to help you retrieve the information you need quickly.

Reduces Your Risk

With the increase of documentation-intense compliance mandates, the need to store and retrieve compliance evidence has also increased. Using Oracle WebCenter Content records management capabilities enables you to manage records and retention policies and easily retrieve the information, saving you time and reducing your risk.

Meets Your Needs

If your content management needs extend into rich media industries such as advertising, distance learning, web development, or other line of business requiring use of images and video, Oracle WebCenter Content allows you to manage such digital assets simply and effectively. Store high-resolution source videos on one server while resized conversions are served out of a separate streaming server. Or group advertising collateral for a catalog in a folio, route it through a workflow, then zip it into a compressed file for distribution to a vendor. All these options are possible with Oracle WebCenter Content.

1.4 Basic WebCenter Content Concepts

Oracle WebCenter Content provides an automated system for sharing, managing, and distributing business information. This information can be in documents or some other type of content, and in this guide the terms document, content, and file are often used interchangeably. In some cases, for example if image conversion is enabled, multiple files may be managed together as one document. Whatever term is used, the information is being stored electronically and is managed as a single item. Oracle WebCenter Content manages the item by providing a means for you to find the information you are looking for while controlling access to the document so that only authorized people can use it.

You can access current information quickly and securely from any standard web browser. You can manage virtually any type of content, including letters, reports, engineering drawings, spreadsheets, manuals, sales literature, and more, in one powerful content management system.

For typical business document management, managing videos, images, or records, Oracle WebCenter Content provides a fully featured and familiar user experience. In addition to accessing your content through a web browser, Oracle WebCenter Content provides several alternatives for those who want an experience more integrated with their office applications, as Desktop and WebDAV interfaces allow you to perform primary content management actions from your desktop using folders and files to represent documents.

1.4.1 Useful Vocabulary

The following terms are used throughout this guide and are useful to understand their definitions.

Term Definition

content server

Oracle WebCenter Content uses a content server as a repository for storing and managing your documents. Multiple content servers can be used to help your company manage performance or to separate content to provide additional security or features.

document, content item, file

Any file uploaded to Oracle WebCenter Content is referred to as a document or content item interchangeably. They are discreet items tracked by the content server even though they consist of metadata and one or more files, revisions, or renditions.


Metadata is information about a document, such as the title, author, release date, and so on. You can use metadata to find documents in WebCenter Content, much as you would search for books in a library by author or subject. When you upload a document, you assign some metadata values, while Oracle WebCenter Content assigns some metadata values automatically. The metadata is stored in a database that works with Oracle WebCenter Content.

To simplify metadata entry and selection, libraries and folders have metadata predefined. When you upload a document to a particular library or folder, the document is assigned the predefined metadata, as well as any metadata you specify. In some cases, your system administrator can create Profiles that specify which metadata values are displayed when you upload, search for, or view documents and document properties.

It is important that you understand your organization's metadata fields and always assign metadata carefully. Proper metadata makes documents easier to find, and ensures that only users who have the proper permissions can access a document.

document properties, content information

Document properties and content information are used interchangeably in this guide and refer to the metadata associated with a file uploaded to Oracle WebCenter Content. The terms are specific to the metadata in Oracle WebCenter Content and do not refer to document properties associated with a file outside of WebCenter Content, such as those assigned by Microsoft Word, Excel, and other applications.

content repository

When you upload a document, the electronic file is stored in a content repository. The original, or native, file is stored in a central repository for native files. If your system has conversion features installed and enabled, a web-viewable version of the file (such as PDF) is created and stored in a special repository for web-viewable files. If you are not using conversion, or if a particular file type cannot be converted, a copy of the native file is placed in the repository for web-viewable files.)

Any user with the correct security permissions can view the web-viewable version of a document or get a copy of the original file from the repository of native files. Security permissions determine who can view, revise, and delete a particular document.

The native file and any web-viewable files associated with a document are called renditions. For example, the PDF version of a document is a rendition of that document, as are the HTML and XML versions.

revision control

To change a document that is uploaded to Oracle WebCenter Content, you must check it out of the repository. Only one person can have a document checked out at any given time, but others can view the released version of the file.

When you upload the modified file back into Oracle WebCenter Content, it is automatically stored as a new revision of the document. You can view or copy previous revisions, but the latest revision is displayed by default.

persistent URL

Every document in the repository for web-viewable files keeps a permanent web address that does not change from one revision to the next. The most current version is always displayed when you point your browser to the persistent URL of a document.

security groups and accounts

You can set Oracle WebCenter Content security to control which users can view, edit, and delete particular documents. In some cases when you upload a file, you may have to specify a value for the following security-related metadata fields:

  • Security group: All users belong to one or more security groups. They also have a specific level of access within each security group. The security group is a required metadata field for all documents and may be assigned by default. Only the users who have permission to that security group can work with the document.

  • Account: Accounts are an optional feature that your system administrator can use to define a more flexible security model. As with security groups, only users who have permission to a particular account can work with documents that belong to that account.


A role is a set of permissions (Read, Write, Delete, Admin). For example, as a team member, you can view a schedule (Read access), but as the team leader, you may also have to update the schedule (Read and Write access).

The system administrator assigns roles to users to define their level of access within a security group.

  • contributor: The contributor role has Read and Write permission to the Public security group. Users can search for, view, upload, and download content.

  • guest: The guest role has Read permission to the Public security group. Users can search for and view content in the Public security group.

  • sysmanager: The sysmanager role has privileges to access the Admin Server on Oracle WebCenter Content.


Each role can have the following permissions for each security group: Read (R), Write (W), Delete (D), or Admin (A). The permissions for a security group are the highest permission defined by any of the roles for that group. For example, if you are assigned Guest and Contributor roles, where guest is given Read permission and Contributor is given Write permission to the Public security group, you have Write permission to content in the Public security group.

Each role can have the following permissions for each security group:

  • read: The user can view files in that security group.

  • write: The user can view, upload, download, and get a copy of documents in that security group. Non-authors can change the security group setting of a document if the non-author has admin permission in the new security group.

  • delete: The user can view, upload, download, get a copy, and delete files in that security group.

  • admin: The user can view, upload, download, get a copy, and delete files in that security group. If this user has Workflow rights, they can start or edit a workflow in that security group. The user can also upload documents in that security group with another user specified as the Author.

access control list (ACL) security

In addition to the standard Oracle WebCenter Content roles, security groups, and accounts, Oracle WebCenter Content can be configured to support access control lists (ACL). An access control list is a list of users, groups, or enterprise roles with permission to access or interact with a particular document.

Depending on how access control list security is configured, three new fields are available for use when adding, modifying, or searching for documents:

  • User Access List

  • Group Access List

  • Role Access List

To use access control lists with documents, you assign one or more predefined users, groups, or roles to the item. In addition, you assign the permissions (Read (R), Write (W), Delete (D), or Admin (A)) to each of the access list entries you specify.

For example, suppose you add a document and you want guests to have read access and you want all logged-in users to have read and write access. First, add the guest role to the document and click the R (Read) permission icon. Then, add the authenticated user role to the document and click the W (Write) permission icon to grant both the read and write permissions.

If either role is valid for the user, they have the access specified for the valid role. If both roles are valid for the user, they have the greater of the two permission sets.

Between access control list entries (user, group, and role), there is an implicit OR relationship. Between access control list entries and other security methods (security groups and accounts), there is an implicit AND relationship, where the user has access equal to the intersection of the valid permission sets.

The Access Control List metadata associated with a document can include multiple entries and permissions. When searching for content using Access Control List metadata, use the "Contains" or the "Substring" option (depending on your search engine) to help ensure that you find all instances of the specified metadata.

1.4.2 Folders

Folders in Oracle WebCenter Content are used to organize documents so that you can find them quickly by browsing the folder structure. There are two main types of folders in Oracle WebCenter Content:

  • Traditional folders, which are are similar to folders you use to organize your files in your computer file system

  • Query folders, or saved searches, which are collections of documents based on search criteria you have saved.

Traditional folders in Oracle WebCenter Content are like folders on your computer with one important distinction: they have metadata associated with them and can automatically assign (propagate) folder metadata to the documents organized in them. Propagating folder metadata saves you time, allowing you to upload documents to a folder and know that it is secure and easily found without having to manually assign security and other metadata.

Query folders aren't actually folders in the traditional sense, but rather they are search criteria that you have saved that is executed when you click on the query folder. They give you the experience of browsing through a file system while in reality searching for content using metadata. For example, a query folder can be created titled Today's Documents that when clicked displays all documents checked in today. The contents change every day without people having to upload documents to a specific folder, because clicking the folder tells Oracle WebCenter Content to find all documents uploaded on the current day and display them in a list.

1.4.3 Shortcuts

You can create shortcuts to any item (folder or document) to which you have access in Oracle WebCenter Content. A shortcut points to an item, allowing you a way to quickly organize how you access items pertinent to you. For example, you may work on several projects, each requiring a specification document, and each specification document is stored in the associated project folder. You can create a folder containing shortcuts to each specification document. So instead of having to search through multiple project folders to find the documents you want, you can click on your personal folder and have shortcuts to all specification documents listed there for quick, convenient access.

1.4.4 Finding Content

You can search for a document by its metadata, by full-text, or by a combination of the two. Only the documents you have permission to view are displayed in the search results.

You can specify search terms for one or more metadata fields. Depending on how your system is configured, you can use search operators that specify if the search term is a whole word or part of a word, or if it appears at the start or the end of the field. You can also use wildcard characters to match one more characters in a search term.

To simplify or customize the search form, an administrator can create one or more metadata profiles that specify the metadata fields that are included on the form.

With the Quick Search function, you can search at any time from the home page. You can specify a search term for a selected field or for all supported fields. If your system is configured for full-text search, Quick Search also searches for the search term in the text of documents.

1.4.5 Managing Images and Videos

If Oracle WebCenter Content is configured to manage digital assets such as images or videos, you can quickly find, group, convert, and download images and videos of various sizes, formats, and resolutions to meet your business needs. This helps maintain a consistency of use across your organization. For example, an organization's logo can be available in a variety of sizes for advertisements, web pages, and presentation, or a company training video can be available in a variety of formats for streaming on an intranet, presenting to an audience, or copying to tape.

1.4.6 Managing Content through Office Applications

Oracle also offers Oracle WebCenter Content: Desktop, which can enhance the WebDAV client environment by more closely integrating with Windows Explorer, Microsoft Outlook, Lotus Notes, and other applications. For more information, see Chapter 17.

1.4.7 Grouping Content into Folios

A folio is a logical grouping or framework to organize content stored in Oracle WebCenter Content. Folios are useful when you want to organize groups of documents, such as contracts or sales information, that include some common components and some unique components, and assemble them in a standardized sequence and hierarchy. Folios are also useful when you want to create and review a group of documents as part of one or more workflow processes.

With a simple folio, you collect one or more items in a single level. With an advanced folio, you can organize content in a hierarchy of folders.

An advanced folio can contain folders, called nodes, placeholders for content, called slots, and documents. These elements are displayed by default in a hierarchical structure, similar to a standard file system.

1.4.8 Routing Content Through Workflows

The workflow process routes a file for review and approval before it is released to the Oracle WebCenter Content repository. Users are notified by e-mail when they have a file to review.

You can optionally sign and approve a file with an electronic signature which uniquely identifies the contents of the file at a particular revision and associates the signature with a particular reviewer.

You can create two types of workflows in Oracle WebCenter Content:

  • In a criteria workflow, files automatically go into a workflow if the values entered in the metadata fields upon check-in meet certain criteria. Criteria workflows are useful for individual documents that are approved by the same reviewers on a regular basis (newsletter articles, for example).

  • In a basic workflow, files are specifically identified in the workflow, along with the contributors, reviewers, and steps. This type of workflow requires an administrator to initiate the process, and is best suited for groups of documents that go through a workflow or individual documents with unique workflow requirements.

1.5 Basic WebCenter Content Tasks

Managing your documents has several common factors:

  • Logging in to gain access to your documents

  • Finding the documents you need

  • Viewing documents and their properties

  • Uploading documents you want managed

  • Downloading documents you need

  • Organizing documents in useful ways

  • Sharing documents with others through workflows