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> Kathleen Parrott's original question: <<Can any of you kind folks
> how you
> have resolved the problem of users being unable to locate documents?
> Our online system is huge and the options are endless, but it seems no
> one can find what they're looking for...>>
> I recently wrote an article in the Intercom about document control.
> would like a copy, just email me off-list.)
> In a nutshell, I said that there are three parts to document control:
> software, hardware, and business rules.
> For good document control, you should have some sort of software.
> could be an application dedicated to software control, such as
> or one that is already being used for controlling code, such as Visual
> Source Safe. In my little world, we use AgilePLM, which is designed
> track inventory.
> The hardware solutions must include a central server, which a good
> procedure. Here, we provide hourly snapshots of our shared drives,
> nightly physical backups.
> The business rules are the hardest to create, and the hardest to
> We have a central server space to store all of our documents. If you
> working on project XYZ, you simply need to go to the XYZ folder to
> documentation about the project. This took a while to create, and is
> not 100% enforced, but we are getting there.
I'd be interested in reading your article, Diane. And I have to agree
with the third point being the hardest. Controlling content and
documents is a piece of cake compared to controlling what readers and
users do with it. I once created a short (4-page + diagrams) document
for another department and delivered a draft in PDF for SME review.
One of the SMEs, an executive, decided he did not want to provide
handwritten comments. So he had an admin re-type the entire text of the
document in MS Word, and then went through and annotated the content
with his own comments and revisions.
In this case, I was lucky that he was feeding the comments back to me.
But it's just as easy for a user to re-type a document you created, save
it off locally or on a team network drive, and continue making edits and
updates to it without ever communicating back to the writing team what
needs to be done. Then you have rogue departments undermining your
ability to keep documentation accurate, consistent, and updated across
I'd argue that the business rules Diane spoke about have to be
established and set in place BEFORE implementing a content management or
document control solution. Otherwise, you're just kidding yourself and
wasting a lot of time and money installing something that the first user
who decides to hit Ctrl+C from your document and Ctrl+V in a blank MS
Word document can completely undermine with a few keystrokes. Control
your users first. Only then can you effectively control your documents
and your content.
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