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WebCenter Content:  Records - How Content Server Manages Content Differently. Part 2 of 2

Posted on July 1, 2014 by Larry Baker

Tags: Mythics Consulting, Oracle, WebCenter

When it comes to managing content within an organization, there are significant differences in the tools and techniques used for managing documents compared to those used for records.  In Part 1 of this series WebCenter Content: Records (Part 1) – Understanding the Lifecycle of Content, I discussed the differences between documents and records and details around the life cycle of each.  This article will focus on how to utilize the Oracle WebCenter Content suite of products to effectively manage records.   

Oracle’s Enterprise Content Management (ECM) Suite provides the tools to manage both documents and records.  The Universal Content Management (UCM) and Content Server components are at the core of the ECM platform and provide document management, web content management, and digital asset management.  The Universal Records Management (URM) component manages records and retention policies on content.

The Oracle UCM component has been rebranded as Oracle WebCenter Content and the URM component as WebCenter Content: Records.  This article will outline the major differences between Oracle’s WebCenter Content (formerly UCM) and WebCenter Content: Records (formerly URM) with specific focus on managing documents versus records.

Document Management - Oracle WebCenter Content (formerly UCM)

Oracle WebCenter Content (referred to as WCC throughout this article) provides management capabilities for documents, web content and digital rights, including:

  1. Check-in/Check-out
  2. Assignment of metadata
  3. Workflow management
  4. Indexing
  5. Versioning
  6. Security controls
  7. Various types of searches
  8. Deletion of content

All of the WCC content is easily accessible thru a web browser user interface.  WCC is designed to manage structured as well as unstructured content.  WCC manages a broad range of content types such as forms, invoices, documents, images, webpages, graphics, and email.  The content is stored in a secure, centralized repository that houses the content throughout its life cycle (creation, usage and deletion). 

Access to the content is controlled by security controls applied to the content.   Content security models are created by system administrators and consist of security groups and named accounts.  Security controls are applied to the content, and not to the users.  WCC users are assigned roles which gives the user various levels of rights to access content.

In addition to system administrators, there are two other types of users involved with a WCC system:

Contributors who upload or create content
Consumers who search and utilize the content

With the proper rights, contributors can upload, create or delete content to the WCC system as they desire, without any additional review or stipulations.  However, records cannot be deleted from a record management system without fulfilling a retention and disposition life cycle.

Records Management - Oracle WebCenter Content:  Records (formerly URM)

Oracle WebCenter Content: Records (referred to as WCCR throughout this article) provides records and retention management policies for physical and electronic content.     

Oracle WebCenter Content: Records is a component of WebCenter Content, therefore, the core functionality of Oracle content management is the same for documents (WCC) and records (WCCR).  So, check-in, metadata assignment, approval, indexing, applying security and searching are performed for documents and records in the same manner by the same core Content Server component.

Oracle WCC has multiple options for the level of records management functionality provided.  A WCC instance with “Minimal” Records Management enabled provides basic records management functionality.  This level of functionality includes WCCR metadata fields, limited subset of life cycle creation, audit trails, and report generation.  Varying other levels of records management functionality can be chosen during system implementation.  A “Typical” WCCR implementation provides common records management functionality as well as the ability to manage physical content such as: paper documents, boxes of content, films, CDs, DVDs, and etc.  With a “DoD Classified” WCCR implementation, in addition to the “Typical” features you also enable a Department of Defense (DoD) Configuration, Email Fields and Classified Topics.  WCCR is certified DoD 5015.2 version 3 compliant, meaning that it has records versioning capabilities.  A “Custom” WCCR implementation can be selected in order to choose desired records management features.  A “Custom” configuration must be used to enable Freedom of Information Act / Privacy Act tracking.

WCCR provides a single application to create and administer lifecycles on both electronic and physical information.  WCCR manages WCC’s content lifecycles by adding retention and disposition capabilities.  WCCR allows you to schedule destruction of records and non-records within a single repository.  WCCR manages the lifecycle of content through retention schedules that are created and configured by WCCR administrators.  WCCR’s retention schedules are built to notify users of required actions based on system defined or user created events and triggers.

The declaration of a record is now implicit in WCCR 11g.  By default, contributing a content item to a category, in the retention schedule, that does not allow deletion of content makes that content item a “record”.   WCCR prohibits deletions of declared records until the end of their prescribed retention.  The deletion of a record requires a user to have a special WCCR Administrator role with the rights to delete records.

Since records can be used for more than just a historical archive and are subject to being used as evidence in litigation, legal holds or freezes can also be applied to records.  WCCR applies freezes to content for collection of “as-is” content during the discovery phase of litigation or auditing.  A freeze on content also prevents the processing of disposition schedule actions.  A freeze does not occur automatically, it must be applied to content by someone with appropriate privileges.

All WCCR configurations except for “Minimal” come with Physical Content Manager (PCM) features.  PCM is an add-on to WCCR that allows you to set up storage and manage physical documents in various storage locations.  PCM also incorporates bar code scanning and printing labels for managing storage space and administering physical records circulation.

Storage of Files

Oracle WCC manages documents within a designated content repository associated with the WCC tool.  Oracle ECM has a framework that allows the extension of records management to any content repository.  Through the use of adapters, records and retention policies can be applied to any content in any system.  The adapters enforce policies for both electronic and physical records.  With the adapter framework, organizations can choose to move content into Oracle WebCenter Content or manage records “in-place” in their original repositories.  File shares, other content management systems and email archives can all be managed through the use of the ECM adapters. 

There are WCCR Adapters available for the following repositories:

  • Oracle WebCenter Content
  • Oracle WebCenter Content: Imaging
  • Microsoft SharePoint 2007 & 2010
  • Symantec Enterprise Vault
  • EMC Documentum
  • IBM FileNet
  • File systems 

Access to Files

Documents managed in WCC can be viewed, edited and deleted from the repository, as long as the individual has the appropriate rights.  However, records managed in WCCR cannot be edited during their retention period.  WCCR also prevents the deletion of records without going through the specified disposition process for that category of record.

Access to content in both WCC and WCCR is controlled through the use of Roles.  Roles grant users access and rights to content in specific Security Groups.  Typical user roles in WCC are Contributor and Consumer.  In addition to the typical WCC roles, WCCR requires the additional roles of Records User, Records Officer, Records Administrator, and Administrator.  Additionally, the roles of Physical Records, Physical Administration, and Chargeback are used if physical records are being managed.  And two additional roles are required for users and administrators of external content managed through WCCR Adapters.

Beyond the security rights given through roles, WCCR has the ability to use additional controls to access content.  WCCR can use Access Control List (ACL), Supplemental Markings, Custom Security Fields and Security Classifications to further limit access to parts of the retention schedule and/or specific pieces of content.


There are distinct differences between non-record documents and records.  As we have seen here, there are also a number of differences in the tools used to manage these two classifications of content.  The basic differences between Oracle’s WCC tool and Oracle’s WCCR tool are included in the table below:

  WCC - WebCenter Content WCCR - WebCenter Content:  Records
Types of Content Active and non-active content. Electronic content such as: documents, files, images, webpages, graphics, and email. Active and non-active content as well as legal or historical artifacts.  Electronic and/or physical content such as: documents, files, images, webpages, graphics, email, folders, boxes, films, tapes, CDs, DVD and etc.
Security Uses Role based security with Security Groups and Named Accounts. Can also use Access Control List (ACL). Uses Role based security with Security Groups and Named Accounts.  Access Control List (ACL), Supplemental Markings, Custom Security Fields and Security Classifications can also be used.
Revisions Provides check-in/check-out and tracks multiple revisions. Provides check-in/check-out and tracks multiple revisions.  Records become static and cannot be revised after entering disposition.  Can apply Freezes to ensure changes are not made during audits or litigation.
Retention Unscheduled manual deletion process after useful life. Uses a retention schedule to designate lifecycles for content.  Defines period of time that a record is held, after useful life, before record is destroyed.
Disposition Does not manage disposition actions. Assigns dispositions that knows the end of useful life, retains for a defined period after useful life, and manages how they are disposed.
Discovery Searching returns content items that meet certain metadata criteria.

Searching returns content items that meet certain metadata criteria.  Also has Screening which is an enhanced search capability that enables specific disposition information as your search criteria.

Audit Does not manage audit reports. Administrator and user actions can be specified for audits.  Most default and custom metadata fields can be included in audit reports.

Oracle provides WebCenter Content (WCC) to manage the storage, retrieval and revision of documents.  Oracle also provides a DoD 5015.2 version 3 certified WebCenter Content: Records (WCCR) tool that adds retention and disposition for the management of both electronic and physical records.   In an additional article we will explore how Oracle’s WebCenter Content: Records tool manages physical records.


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