Re: Document Management Tools/Strategies -- Long

Subject: Re: Document Management Tools/Strategies -- Long
From: Dianne Blake <write-it -at- home -dot- com>
To: Emily Cotlier <Emily_Cotlier -at- cardlink -dot- co -dot- nz>, Techwriter <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 02 Feb 2000 23:07:42 -0800

Emily Cotlier wrote:
> 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)?

My experience is that there comes a time when multiple people sharing
each others files becomes unmanageable. The biggest problem is that
people don't always follow the rules regarding:

* Naming conventions
* Filing conventions
* Modifying files that are not theirs to modify
* Version control

Even with file server security, people find a way to get at documents
they shouldn't have access to.

There are high-end products out there that don't alter the original
documents and allow you to do the following:

* Name the documents anything you like (up to 230 characters long),
and the database tracks the files with it's own internal names

* Files documents on servers - like you probably do now, but with
more security. The document contents can be indexed, and the
database keeps track of author, typist, project, etc.

* This means you can find the document by all these criteria as
well as by words or phrases with the documents (hey, I can find
the file quickly)

* Only users with access can view or change the documents. You
determine who has what access rights to your documents.

* Version control can be strictly or lightly controlled and the
database retains the historical record of each version along with
who changed it, viewed it, printed it, etc. Each version can be
archived separately.

* Shadowing capability - the application can automatically make a
copy of your document on your C: drive in case the server goes down
- this allows users to continue work when something goes wrong.

I don't know if your company is ready for this big of a step, but I
think it is nice to know that these features are there when you are
ready for them. I don't work at the company where we used document
management anymore. I miss the control and management of documents. If
you need additional information, let me know and I'll contact the folks
where I use to work and see if I can get you some literature on one of
these products. I'm pretty familiar with the product because I was a
certified trainer and designed many a database for our clients who used
this product.

- Dianne Blake
write-it -at- home -dot- com

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