Q: I am adding some additional sync rules soon and I had a question. We want to sync the global address list to all users, but would like to be able to make additions to each contact.
A: They can make additions to any contact element which is NOT in AD, ie pictures, other extended fields. If there is a field in AD which is mapped to a contact item, that field will overwrite the changed entry from the Cache entry next time GAL Sync occurs. If there is not a field mapped to a contact, you can add all you want to it for the other Outlook contact fields.
The rub there is that we have a special relationship, called a GAL Contact relationship which are always unidirectional, in other words, info goes from the GAL to the Galcache public folder. The contact relationships you set up to the users from the GAL Cache are unidirectional, because you cannot edit the GAL from the public folder – that would be a security hole. In other words, the users cannot edit their copies of items which came from the GAL and have it go back to the GalCache with a normal GAL Contact Relationship. This is true, but you COULD make a non GAL Contact Relationship which would be bidirectional. Then the mapped Contact fields which are in the GAL will overwrite the normal GALcache entries next time GAL Syncs, This might be confusing to users, since users may expect to be able to edit ANY of the contact item elements, even those which came from the GAL.
BTW, if you added Additional Contacts in the GAlCache, (not in the GAL) to that folder, they will sync. But this certainly is not optimal.
Q: I was wondering if it would be better to set a 1 way sync of the global address list to a shared contact list and then syncing the shared list with the individuals that needed it.
A: Yes, that would be cleaner and more efficient. You can still have the unidirectional GAL relationship to the GALCache, and then have a separate folder which you can set up bidirectional relationships and the destination folders of both templates could go to the same folder in the user’s mailbox.
Q: If I do this, will they be able to edit the contacts in the shared contact list without the global list overriding those additions?
A: Yes because it would be a different relationship to that folder – the gal is unidirectional and the shared is bidirectional.
Tip, be sure to add pictures to the GAL Cache entries. Make them small and “glamor shot” types so that when the person calls, their picture shows up on the smartphone. People seem to like that and those pictures stay there even after a new GAL Sync since it is a field which does not exist in AD. Also, by the way, be careful of exactly what information you put into the GAL to be synced to everyone so as not expose too much personal and confidential information.
Does this help?