Document Management versus Document Version Control

Subject: Document Management versus Document Version Control
From: "R. Downey" <rdowney -at- matrox -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Mon, 27 Mar 2000 16:49:59 -0500

Dear List,

I hope you can help me with this.

Who am I
I am a lone technical writer in a department that will not grow very much
over the coming year. So the software I choose has to be scalable, but I
cannot currently see needing more than 5 licenses in the future.

I work on a Windows NT workstation (Service Pack 6.0) using MS-Word2000
[Release Notes, small documents], FrameMaker 5.5.6 [Manuals], DreamWeaver
3.0 [HTML documents] and Quark Expres 4.0 [Marketing Documents] to make
documents. Images are Visio drawings, GIFs, TIFs, JPEGs, WMFs and BMPs.

Currently I have a stand-alone database of product information (in Access)
that only provides me a "sign off" sheet and a link as to where the
document(s) are stored.

Version control is done through MKS Source Integrity primarily because that
was what the software programmers used. It does not suit my needs as it
stores anything not a text file as a binary and I am quickly running out of
space on the fileserver.

The Problem
The problem is that I have too many questions and not near enough answers.
Being new to the organization and management of documents, my head starts
spinning every time I read a new article on the topic. Help!

What do I need
- A good compair and contrast between a document management system and a
document version control system. Is there a difference?
- Pointers on which I should be using and why
- Suggestions as to where to find such software when one must work on a
reasoable budget (if the software costs as much as hiring a file clerk -
forget it.)
- Advice: do I need a document management system? Can I get away with just a
document version control system and do the document management myself?
- Advice: What do you use? How do you/does your company do it?
- Just how much management does a lone technical writer need?
- Is there a standard in the industry for document management other than
that used for translation services?

Sources I've found so far
That being said, I've been to the following sites and read these articles on
the topic: The Need for Document
Management System Interoperability, an executive Overview of the Document
Managemnt Alliance Standard. Which defines a Document Management System as
(and I quote):

"Electronic Document Management Systems or DMSs as they're also called (the
terms are used interchangeably), are commercial off-the-shelf software
packages that are cousins to Data Base Management Systems (DBMS). Whereas
DBMSs store "structured data" - short records such as a name, address,
account number, and social security number - DMSs store, retrieve, and
manage "unstructured data" such as files, text, spreadsheets, images, sound
clips, multi-media, and compound documents. The benefits of using DMSs are
well established, including improved productivity, shorter process times,
and better access to information...." Part I: Managing
Large Collections of Documents - reprinted with permission from Intranet
Document Management by Joan Bannan Part II:
Implementing a Document Management System. ibid above.

Both these articles give a nice overview of what a document management
system is. Admittedly it would be nice to find references to a product in a
database and print out all relevant documents (current or previous

What I've looked at
I've looked at Cantebery by Chrystal ( but the lack of a
visible price tag or downloadable demo scared me off. Although there is a
nice review of the product available in PDF. I've noticed it was mentioned a
few times on this list, and it is one of the frameUser's power tools, but I
think this product might be too much for a lone-techwriter. Am I wrong?

I've also tried DocNet32, but the documentation was in hebrew and I could
not otherwise figure the product out.

Currently I'm testing CS-RCS ( which
seems to be the most interetsting for version control and it's free for one
user. I've not fully tested it so I cannot say if it answers all my

In Conclusion
Any advice, defintions, articles to read, horror-stories or tales of joy on
this topic are welcomed.
Rebecca Downey
Matrox Electronics Systems Ltd. Networks Division
Technical Writer
Email: rdowney -at- matrox -dot- com

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