RE: Free/open source knowledge base system

Subject: RE: Free/open source knowledge base system
From: "Darren Barefoot" <darren -dot- barefoot -at- capeclear -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Mon, 1 Jul 2002 16:12:25 +0100

Gosh, thanks for the reply. See my answers below. DB.

> -----Original Message-----
> From: bounce-techwr-l-65243 -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com
> [mailto:bounce-techwr-l-65243 -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com] On Behalf Of Doc
> Sent: 01 July 2002 15:37
> Subject: Re: Free/open source knowledge base system
> 1. Would you and your organization be willing to pay a small
> amount for the software or is there a philosophical or
> sociological reason behind your wanting free software?

Well, we like the philosophy of open source projects, and use a fair bit
of open source stuff in our site.
Basically, though, we're cheap.

> 2. How do you do it now?
> * What authoring (word processing, authoring, text-editing)
> and graphics (illustration, flow charts etc.) programs are
> already in use?
> * Do you want the software to provide an editing interface or
> use one that you already have? (Remember that you will have
> to recreate any templates in the new format.)

Right now we've got a home-grown JSP solution that is awkward, not
searchable and not-scalable. Basically, you input data through JSP forms
which writes to a big XML file (bad design decision there) which we then
transform to HTML using XSLT and publish to our site
( via FTP.

Ideally we'd like a Web interface to editing the knowledge base ideas.

> 3. What is the nature of the information?
> * How large are the proposed database entries?
> * Do you need to control who edits the entries
> * Do you need to combine the entries into larger documents or
> will each stand alone?

The database entries aren't huge...a few paragraphs worth of text in
HTML format. Again, see for examples.
We're not particularly concerned about user access control...if it's
available, good, but security isn't a priority. We have to put guns to
people's heads to have them write KB entries in the first place. I doubt
we'll be combining entries in the near future.

> 4. When you say publish them on the web, do you mean publish
> the content or do you mean publish a retrievable document or both?

I mean publish the content so that it's organized by category and

> 5. How much time can your org dedicate to setting up and
> maintaining the infrastructure? (The reason most KB, CMS, and
> LCMS software is so expensive is that you are paying for the
> expertise to set them up. You'll find that there is a
> balance. The more work you do yourself, the less you pay. BUT
> The more work you do yourself, the more person-hours are lost
> to doing other jobs.)

I'm looking for a simple, straight-forward system here--no frills and
nothing fancy. If me and the IS guys can't set it up in a day, and if I
can't get our existing small set of data into it in another day, then it
probably won't be worth doing.

> 6. What do you expect to happen? What problem does your org
> have that a KB will be expected to solve?

What a good KB should do, I think (and what we want ours to do) is to
basically reduce support queries.

Thanks for that. DB.
> There are other questions that would help narrow things down.
> but answers to these will help me recommend some solutions.
> . . . and BTW no charge ;->
> -Doc
> David W Lettvin
> VersaText
> South Hamilton, MA
> 978-468-1105
> "You cannot grow a beard in a moment of passion." - G.K. Chesterton
> On Mon, 1 Jul 2002 14:24:48 +0100, "Darren Barefoot"
> <darren -dot- barefoot -at- capeclear -dot- com> wrote:
> >
> >Hi,
> >We're looking for a light-weight knowledge base system.

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Re: Free/open source knowledge base system: From: Doc

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