FW: Managing the multitudes

Subject: FW: Managing the multitudes
From: KMcLauchlan -at- chrysalis-its -dot- com
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 7 Mar 2001 08:55:55 -0500

**Second try to get this request out to the list**

-----Original Message-----
From: Kevin McLauchlan
Sent: Tuesday, March 06, 2001 4:05 PM
To: TECHWR-L; Kevin McLauchlan; 'kevinmcl -at- netrover -dot- com'
Subject: Managing the multitudes

G'day all.

I've been a lone writer in a growing company.
Soon, the "lone" part may change.

Information comes to me in many ways, though the
most frequent path is e-mail. I am a member of
several engineering e-mail groups within the
company, plus the Product Verification Group, the
Customer Support group, and a few others, and I
also get the automated e-mail updates from our
developers' issue-tracking system (a system that
has incredibly poor search and classification
capability, by the way...).

So, I've been organizing this info in e-mail
folders and in Windoze file heirarchies, along
with notes to myself and... well, it's getting
a little overwhelming and would be impossible
to efficiently share with a newcomer.

Reams of info, received over months, need to
find their way into any of several documents in
several possible sets. The trick -- which I'm
managing less well as it grows -- is not so
much to store it all, as to flag it for appropriate
retrieval. One item might need to go in only one
doc. Another might want to go into five different
docs that will be produced at different times
over the next four months.

I've decided that I need a database or some other
methodology that two or more people could comfortably
use to funnel, categorize, search and retrieve thousands
of chunkettes of info. Some are a sentence or two.
Others are many pages long. Still others might be
references into tables or page-ranges of engineering
or marketing documents.

I don't need -- and couldn't justify -- something
big and "corporate".

What tool(s) and working methods do you folks use
in small shops (that might continue to grow, we hope)??

Would SGML be of some help, here? I have nothing in
place, but... ? I've seen discussions of SGML
databases for organization and re-use of material,
but the discussion seems to lean toward info that is
created by those who feed the database -- and therefore
has the relevant attributes. What do you do with snippets
and e-mail discussions and tech-support interactions and
development bug-reports and fix descriptions and... ?

I know what I do, but it's beginning to stagger and stumble.

I've been thinking of starting up a Microsloth SQL server
(only because we have in-house for other people's uses).
Any thoughts on that? Pro? Con?
What would/do you use for a client app? Something
off-the-shelf? Roll your own with Visual Basic or
Visual C++? Cobble something webbish?

It's important that, whatever the solution is, it
not take too much time and effort to set up, but
it's even more important that it be fast and painless
to use -- both for stuffing new data and for getting it
back when it's needed.


Does somebody have a nice application for which they
give training in some sunny locale? :-)

We're webless for another day or two (IS is fixing or
breaking something again, in the firewall trenches),
so pursuit of URLs will need to wait until I get home,

I'll summarize promising responses.

Thank you.



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