What is SharePoint?
SharePoint is a Microsoft product that functions like an intranet, providing some of the following features (similar to Google apps):
- Document libraries with file versioning for collaboration
- Online discussion forums
- Picture and slide libraries with thumbnails
- Sub-sites for teams and projects
- Team calendaring via the University Exchange environment
More information about specific SharePoint functionality can be found on NUIT SharePoint website.
What is the difference between SharePoint and my network share?
Though network shares and SharePoint are able to host many of the same file types, the aims of these two services are different.
SharePoint is intended to function as an internal website, with access to various parts of the website dependent upon a user’s NetID. This allows posting of announcements, informational bulletins, organizational calendars, and other intra-unit content and communication. Like a network share, it can host files; but these files are accessible via web browser, which makes off-campus and mobile access simple and user-friendly. Some file types may be worked on in real-time by multiple users, while others can be “checked out” for edits. These features make SharePoint ideal as a space for active or frequently referenced documents.
Network Share Functionality
Network shares, on the other hand, are file directories accessible through native applications such as Finder or Windows Explorer. They do not display printed or multimedia content, but rather provide a central repository for file storage. Concurrent editing of files is not supported, and access to files from off-campus locations is restricted. Network shares should therefore be used for long-term storage of documents.
To avoid duplicate file storage and potential inconsistency across versions, units should use each of these file-hosting solutions as indicated above. Each file should be stored in only one location.