Re: Locating buried documents

Subject: Re: Locating buried documents
From: Dick Margulis <margulisd -at- comcast -dot- net>
To: "Parrott, Kathleen E." <kathleen -dot- parrott -at- ngc -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 24 May 2006 10:56:57 -0400

Parrott, Kathleen E. wrote:

Thanks for your input. I'm presently taking the Green Belt training.
I'm only on Lesson 9 of 20, so I'm not an expert yet. However, if I'm
right, I still have to determine - through analysis - just how to
resolve the issue. The Define and Measure stage will show me what the
problem IS, but it won't tell me how to resolve the problem. One must
do one's own analysis. I have been wrong before, however.
In the meantime, got any suggestions for the original question?


Named methodologies aside, let's examine the truth of the situation:

There's a pile || And there's
of documents || a bunch of
over here || people over here
And there is a wall here /

What you're trying to do is put a window into the wall that allows the people to see into the pile of documents and focus quickly on specific documents. But a plain glass window won't do. You need a bunch of polarizing filters that users can apply to reduce the glare from the big pile of documents.

Those polarizing filters are portal pages that either organize the documents into a number of differently conceived hierarchies or allow users to apply a variety of search criteria. The latter is easier, because you can plug a search page into an off-the-shelf RDBMS and not have to think of every possible way or organizing and ranking documents ahead of time. (If you think of organizing them by department, some user is going to want to organize them by geographic market or by product group or by industry or by author or by date or by keyword or by ... whatever.) Let the database do the heavy lifting instead.

However, the more degrees of freedom you give people on the search portal (the more fields you add), the likelier it is that people are going to pick up the phone and call the person who maintains the system, requesting a particular document. You know, the one Jerry wrote, um, I think it was about a year ago. No, wait, maybe it was longer. Umm, it was Cathy, not Jerry. But you know the one I'm talking about.

The biggest problem is that when people see glass in any form, they use it to examine their own reflections. They do not ask how you intended for them to use it. Glass? Must be a mirror. How's my hair? Oh, that's a window for me to see the documents? Good. Your hair doesn't matter, so you be a dear and fetch me the document, won't you?

So the KEY CONCEPT IN DESIGNING SUCH A SYSTEM is this: It has to be exceedingly fast and easy for a superuser to use, and you don't have to worry too much about usability for anyone else, because nobody else is ever going to use it.

In terms of design details, you want to capture as much metadata as you possibly can about each document (of any file type) and stow that information in the database. You want to do this in as automated a way as possible. You want to automatically assign unique filenames. And you want to automate the control of document storage. That is, you do not want users to be able to manually move a file to the storage server. You have to force all new documents and document revisions to be uploaded through the Web interface, where the system can assign a filename and capture the metadata.


Dick, still floggin' the bloggin' at


WebWorks ePublisher Pro for Word features support for every major Help
format plus PDF, HTML and more. Flexible, precise, and efficient content delivery. Try it today!.
Doc-To-Help includes a one-click RoboHelp project converter. It's that easy. Watch the demo at

You are currently subscribed to TECHWR-L as archive -at- infoinfocus -dot- com -dot-
To unsubscribe send a blank email to techwr-l-unsubscribe -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
or visit

To subscribe, send a blank email to techwr-l-join -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com

Send administrative questions to lisa -at- techwr-l -dot- com -dot- Visit for more resources and info.

RE: Locating buried documents: From: Parrott, Kathleen E.

Previous by Author: Re: 'Entire' Vs. 'Whole'
Next by Author: Re: Locating buried documents?
Previous by Thread: RE: Locating buried documents
Next by Thread: Re: Locating buried documents

What this post helpful? Share it with friends and colleagues:

Sponsored Ads