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We've always used web-based database-driven tools to generate
unique ID numbers for documents. Unfortunately, we've wound up
with at least four different tools for different purposes:
1) For docs that related to our own product line that we published
before being acquired, we continued to use our own web-based
archiving tool, which generated unique base ID numbers and managed
dash numbers for revised versions. These numbers fit in with the
system used for manufacturing materials and inventory management,
having their own designated 2-digit prefix (05 was for docs), 4 digits
for ID, three digits for the revision dash number, and optionally two
more digits for a dash number to indicate a beta version. Keeping
this system separate rather than converting everything and being
fully assimilated into the new corporate system turned out to have
been a good idea, since last year the parent company decided to
sell off what was left of the business they had purchased 7 years
before (but that's another story...).
2) For post-acquisition docs that were only going to be published on
the corporte website, there was a dedicated tool that generated a
unique 6-digit base number for each document. Dash numbers for
revisions (2 digits) were then added and managed manually.
3) For docs that were going to be printed and included in the box
with a product or were going to be included on a release CD, we had
to use the corporate manufacturing materials management tool so
that the documentation deliverables could be included on Bills of
Materials (BOMs). This tool generated a unique base number (1
alpha character and 5 digits), plus a 3-digit dash number for non-
interchangeable variants and a separate Rev number for revisions
that don't affect interchangeability (a carry-over concept from
4) For docs that were going to go on the secure website for
confidential docs, there was a separate database tool that I have
always managed to avoid having to use.
>From: "Sarah Bouchier" <Sarah -dot- Bouchier -at- exony -dot- com>
>To: <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
>Subject: Unique doc IDs
>Date: Mon, 6 Aug 2007 12:12:42 +0100
>What is the best way to ensure that each document has a unique ID? I'm
>currently looking at introducing a scheme whereby all the documents
>produced by the company (including those written by developers) have a
>unique ID, but I'm having difficulty working out how to ensure
>Before I go reinventing the wheel (or a clumsy variant thereof with many
>bumpy corners), what methods do other people use?
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