Document Management Tools/Strategies

Subject: Document Management Tools/Strategies
From: Emily Cotlier <Emily_Cotlier -at- cardlink -dot- co -dot- nz>
To: "'TECHWR-L'" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 3 Feb 2000 11:41:01 +1300

I've checked the archive and not found anything on this, but it's considered
important by all the NZ tech writers I've talked to....
Document Management.

The Situation: I am a tech writer at a company with about 20 developers.
Recently, we moved all Development project-related documents (mostly Word,
Excel, and MicroGrafix) from individual users' PCs into a shared system with
an organised, clearly-named file structure, accessed via Explorer. This way,
everyone on a project can access everyone else's documents on a project, and
everyone can find the files consistently. All the Developers have change
rights over these documents.
We hired a new developer last week who seemed perkier than usual when I
demonstrated this--it turned out he has solid tech writing experience and
even likes writing--and he asked me, "What about document version control?"
"Good question," I said. We agreed that this system needed a way of tracking
version control.

The Requirement: A way to track document version controls for these
documents, which are mostly Word documents.

A Possible Solution: Upon researching the options, the simplest one is
definitely a function bundled with MS Word 2000. Once you save a document in
MS Word 2000, it allows you to track its version control, even to save a new
version as such, with the save date, time, name of the person to make the
version change, and comments.
I like this as a solution because a) we already have it, so it won't cost us
any money b)it is very simple to do and to reference and c) it can be
incorporated into the current process by informing the developers of the
change and showing them the new step.

Other Possible Solutions: I've checked out some document management programs
online, BUT all of them seem to import the documents into their own system.
They are also designed to include scanned documents in the system--which we
don't need. They seem to add more steps to the process. While their
organisational features add some value, I wonder if it's worth it for our

Questions for Those It May Concern:
What are your experiences managing document versions with multiple users?
Do you recommend/not recommend any of the document management programs
(DocuTrack, Cabinet NG, PaperTiger, others)?


Emily Cotlier
Technical Writer
Cardlink Systems Limited
Auckland, New Zealand

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