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
> To: TECHWR-L
> 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
(http://www.capescience.com/kb/) 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 http://www.capescience.com/kb/ 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
searchable.

>
> 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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