4 Understanding Documents and Document Properties

Regardless of how you access a document, the tasks you can perform on it remain same. Here you learn about various tasks, properties, and options associated with documents.

This chapter covers the following topics:

4.1 About Documents

Documents are uploaded to Oracle WebCenter Content into a library, folder, or subfolder. Libraries and folders give a document context and provide a structure that helps you easily find a document. As documents in Oracle WebCenter Content are updated, document revisions are tracked so that you always have access to the current version while still being able to review document history.

4.2 Finding Documents

Oracle WebCenter Content provides an innovative way of finding documents through a combination of browsing and searching. In the WebCenter Content user interface you can browse through libraries and folders using the side bar, or search using the Quick Search box or the expanded search form access through the banner then enter search criteria into the search box to filter the contents.

4.3 Viewing and Annotating Documents

When a document is uploaded to Oracle WebCenter Content, the document is converted to a web-viewable version. This allows the document to be shared and viewed by anyone with permission using a standard web browser, regardless of whether or not they have the software application used to create the document. A large variety of file formats are supported for conversion, and the source files can include business documents, CAD drawings, multiple page TIFFs and PDFs, photographs, and video, among others. Documents are viewed in different ways depending on whether you access Oracle WebCenter Content through the desktop, a mobile device, or one of the web browser user interfaces.

Provided you have the permissions to do so, you can add or modify annotations to documents. Among other things, documents can be stamped Approved, have a particular text highlighted, or have a note addressing a specific issue added.

4.4 Understanding Document Properties

Document properties, also called metadata, or content information, is information about a document, such as the title, author, release date, who can access the document and its metadata, and so on. 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.

In some cases an organization may have many different types of metadata to track, not all of which are useful to you. For example, you may be uploading resumes to an HR folder where the document properties must track the applicant name and department to which they are applying. Another person may be uploading photos to an Advertising folder and tracking the subject of the photo and the name of the photographer. Neither of you needs the metadata being used by the other, so profiles are created which display only a small part of the available metadata fields. When you upload the resumes, you select the HR profile and see only the metadata fields you need. When the other person uploads the photos, she selects the Advertising profile and only sees the metadata fields she uses.

You can use metadata to find documents in Oracle WebCenter Content, much as you would search for books in a library by author or subject.

4.4.1 How do I define document metadata values?

The values of document properties can initially be set when you first upload a document in the following ways:

  • You enter metadata values manually. For example, when you upload a document, the default title of the document is the file name, such as document1.txt. You can change that to a more meaningful title, such as November Expense Report. Any metadata values you enter can be changed at a later time.

  • The folder or library context into which you upload a document determines some of the values. When a folder or library is created, values can be defined that get applied to any documents uploaded to the folder or library.

  • Oracle WebCenter Content defines values for some metadata. These values are considered system metadata. System metadata cannot be modified by you.

The values of document properties can also be changed after you upload a document in the following ways:

  • You change metadata values manually using the metadata tab of the View Documents page. For more information about the View Documents page, see View Documents page.

  • You change the metadata of the folder or library the document is in and propagate the changes to the documents in the folder or library.


    Metadata values of a document can be modified individually or through propagation, but any modification may be overwritten if the folder metadata is propagated again. For information on propagating metadata, see Propagating Library Metadata.

4.4.2 Can document profiles be used to control metadata fields?

The available metadata fields for documents managed by Oracle WebCenter Content are determined by a combination of required system fields and fields defined by your system administrator for your organization. Not all available fields are useful to all business situations. For example, a customer call center may need a field to track customer call tickets, but have no use for a vendor ID field needed by an accounting department. Document profiles can be defined by a system administrator and selected by you when uploading a document to filter what fields are available when uploading. For detailed information about document profiles, see Content Profiles.

4.5 Understanding Document Security

Document security determines who can view a document, who can edit it, and who can modify the document properties. Access is controlled by a combination of roles and security groups created by a system administrator, and access control lists you define when uploading a document. Optionally, an account can be set up to refine security.

  • Roles are permissions assigned to users and determine what rights you have within a security group. Available permissions are Read (R), Write (W), Delete (D), Admin (A), or Annotation Privileges. For more information on annotation privileges, see About annotation security.

  • Security groups are assigned to a document when it is uploaded and determine who has access to the document. If you are in the assigned security group, you have access to the document with the permissions set by your role, unless filtered out by an account or an access control list.

  • Accounts are optional and are assigned to a document when it is uploaded, similar to security groups. Accounts give an additional level of security. If a document is assigned a specific account that you do not have access to, you cannot access the document even though you may be part of the security group.

  • Access control lists are a way for you to override the other security options when you upload a document, within limits. For example, even though hundreds of people may have Read rights to the documents in the security group, you can confine access to a certain few people, give them Write permission to your specific document, and collaborate on it. When you are ready, you can remove the access control list so all people in the security group can see the document.

    The limitations of an access control list are these:

    • When permissions differ between what is set in a security group or account and what is set in an access control list, the permissions will be the lesser of the two. For example, if you have Read permission in the HR security group but are set to have Write permission on an access control list in the HR security group, you will have Read permission.

    • When permissions differ between what is set in a role and what is set in an access control list, the permissions will be the greater of the two. For example, if you are a contributor and the contributor role is set to have Write permission but an access control list is set to have Admin permission, then you will have Admin permission.


    In some situations, using an access control list without including yourself as a user can cause you to lose access to the document, folder, or library. It is a good idea to always add yourself when setting access control.

4.5.1 Library and folder security

Security can be set at library and folder levels as well as the document level. Security is inherited from the containing library unless it is set independently. For example, if the security group set for a library is HR, then all folders and documents in the library also have the security group set to HR unless changed.

If you specify a security group to be different from the containing library when you create a folder, then all documents checked into the folder inherit the folder security unless you change it.

If you change security on a folder or library with documents inside of it, the security on the documents does not change unless you specify the changes be propagated. If you specify the changes be propagated, then you can choose to change the security on all contained documents or only the contained folders.

Conflicting document and folder rights

It is possible that you can have rights set to a document in a folder that you do not have access to. In this case, you can find the document by searching but not by browsing. You cannot browse to the folder it is in because you do not have rights to the folder. Once you have found the document, mark it as a favorite or create a shortcut in a folder to which you do have access in order to find the document quickly.

4.6 Understanding Document Renditions

Uploaded documents are processed by Oracle WebCenter Content and are rendered so that you can view them in a standard web browser without having to have the native application that created them. Depending on how Oracle WebCenter Content is set up, different renditions may be available to you. The following rendering options are typical:

Web-Viewable Rendition

The web-viewable rendition is converted when you upload a document based on rules created by your system administrator. It is displayed on the Document page when you view the document or document properties. The Document page provides navigation for multi-page renditions and options for zooming, printing, and e-mailing documents.

Dynamic Conversion

A dynamic conversion option is also available from the document properties that converts the document when you click the link. The dynamic conversion displays in a new web page, outside of Oracle WebCenter Content user interface.

Special Renditions

If configured to work with Oracle WebCenter Content's digital asset management, there may be other rendition options available to you. A system administrator may have set options to convert documents into many different renditions that may include different formats, document sizes, applied watermarks, or even video renditions for video files. Links to special renditions and rendition metadata are available on the View Documents page in Oracle WebCenter Content. For detailed information about working with special renditions in the native user interface, see Working with Images and Videos.

For information to better understand how documents are processed in Oracle WebCenter Content, see Understanding How a Document is Processed Within Oracle WebCenter Content.