Re: Intranet Policies and Strategy Docs

Subject: Re: Intranet Policies and Strategy Docs
From: Chris <cud -at- telecable -dot- es>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 14 Feb 2002 09:49:03 +0100

Categorize! If information is hard to find in the current intranet, I would look into the conceptual organization of that information first. Then address the physical organization of it. Worry about this before you worry about how cool it looks, or what features it will have.

Make it maintainable! This doesn't have to be elaborate. But the goal is to make it as easy as possible for the owners of each document to get the latest version up there, with the minimum intervention from you. To state the goal differently, if people have an excuse for not updating their information, they will use it. Remove the excuses.

Automate (re maintenance)! This doesn't have to be elaborate. The ideal is to have a pool or pools of documents that are owned by the subject experts, and your system automagically presents these documents. Consider this(incomplete) range of options:
Give each author a directory in the server structure, and you periodically list each directory to check for new filenames. Then you take advantage of your swell categorization and organization to know exactly where each new link goes.

Same as above, but you have a script that lists the directories and builds your links for you. Then you go and plunk them in the correct HTML pages.

Same as above but your list is managed by some CGI scripting that builds pages on the fly to present these links to your users.

Go whole-hog and use a database, active pages, etc.

I once built a system to deliver thousands of product docs from many departments, concerning many products. The system used organization, directory naming conventions, and CGI scripts to fake the "ls" command into a an approximated search. The doc owners only had to put their docs into the correct directories. It could present all docs from all products and all departments about one feature. It could present all docs from one product (or feature) from one department. It could present all docs of one type for a given product, feature, or department. Very low-tech, but very flexible. If you're interested, contact me offline and I'll see if I can find any old docs about it. (We're talking 6 years ago or more. These days a company would use a database to accomplish the task. But it's a good illustration of the value of organization.) It was fun!

Chris Despopoulos, maker of CudSpan Freeware...
Plugins to Enhance FrameMaker & FrameMaker+SGML
cud -at- telecable -dot- es

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