Document relationships create a connection between two documents. For example, you could create relationships on a promotional piece to connect documents like drug study results. In that example, the relationship type might be called “Supporting Studies.” Vault includes standard relationship types, but does not currently support custom relationship types.

Note that, unlike document link annotations, relationships do not have a specific location in either the source document or the targeted document. They may or may not be specific to a single version of the source or target document.

Standard Relationship Types & Special Behaviors

Depending on your Vault’s configuration, you may have several standard, system-managed relationship types. Some of these relationship types have special behaviors:

  • Document Linking: Vault automatically creates Linked Documents relationships between two documents when one has link annotations that refer to an anchor on another document. Users can also create this Linked Document relationship directly without creating an annotation.

Elements of a Document Relationship

Each relationship has several elements:

  • Relationship Type: This dictates what the relationship is called (Linked Documents, Related Claims, etc.) and its configuration rules, for example, whether the relationship is version-specific or must be between two documents with the same Product.
  • Source Document: This is the document on which a relationship originates. For example, “CholeCap HCP Presentation” has several Supporting Studies relationships where it is the source document. Each relationship originates from “CholeCap HCP Presentation” and points to a study supporting the claims made in the document.
  • Target Document: This is the document to which the relationship points. For example, “CholeCap HCP Presentation” has a Supporting Studies relationship that points to “Study CC-3950.” “Study CC-3950” is the target document in the relationship.

Configuration Elements for Document Relationships

Each relationship type’s configuration dictates:

  • Number of relationships of that type can exist for a single source document; for example, a single document can only be the source document for one Based On relationship, but that same document may be the source document for several Linked Documents relationships. One document can be the target document for an unlimited number of relationships.
  • Document Type for the source document and/or Document Type for the target document; for example, the References relationship may be valid for any source document, but specify that the target document must have the Reference document type.
  • Whether the relationship is specific to a single version of the target and/or source document; for example, the Based On relationship is version-specific for the target document (original), but not for the source document (copy). If the source is version-specific, then any new versions of the source document will not have the previously created relationship. When the target document is version-specific, the relationship always points to the specific version of the target, even if there is a new revision.
  • Filters applied to the Add Relationship dialog when creating a new relationship on a document; for example, the Related Pieces relationship has a filter on Product. Filters can be required or not required. Users are only able to remove non-required filters. Some filters may not dictate a specific field value, but instead that the field value of the target document matches that of the source document.