Managing a Collection of Documents

Subject: Managing a Collection of Documents
From: "Janoff, Steven" <Steven -dot- Janoff -at- ga -dot- com>
To: "techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 30 May 2013 09:16:23 -0700

[Note: This is different from DaLy's recent request for a CMS solution. Here, there is no requirement for publishing, and money is an object. This was written a few days ago, and held for posting until now.]

Hello Friends,

Recently I posted requesting ideas for "Tracking and managing blog posts" and folks were gracious enough to suggest WordPress, Movable Type, Drupal, and Joomla.

The project has expanded quite a bit so I'm not certain whether these apply anymore, but I thought I'd give a broader scope about what's going on to see if there are any derivative ideas. (Blog posts now represent only a very small portion of the files I'll be dealing with, maybe 5%.)

I want to manage a growing collection of documents that will include: (1) Text files (mostly created using Notepad++), (2) MS Word files, (3) PDFs (the majority created from the Word files in the collection), (4) a handful of Excel spreadsheets, (5) a number of image files (PNG, JPG, GIF, maybe a couple of others), (6) multimedia files -- audio (MP3/MP4) and video (AVI?), (7) the occasional PowerPoint file, and maybe one or two other file types but those are the major ones.

Now, the text files may go through 2 or 3 or 4 versions. The Word files may go through 1 or 2 versions. The PDFs -- at least those created from the Word files -- will also go through a couple of versions, matching those of the Word files.

I want to manage all this remotely, in the cloud -- Google Drive or Dropbox or something similar.

I would like to have some kind of version control so that I can keep track especially of the TXT files.

I'd like a couple of other people working on the project to be able to access these files, and on rare occasions selectively edit as necessary (e.g., a text or Word file), but primarily just access them at any time for viewing, printing, review, etc.

I'd like to keep it open source if possible, e.g., I don't want to invest in Sharepoint or something like that.

Any thoughts? This almost sounds like a combination CMS and RCS but I have no idea what would do this. I don't need a real component CMS like Astoria or Trisoft or Arbortext or similar, because this is not a publishing system per se. And I don't really need to worry about reuse or single-sourcing (at least not that I can foresee). (I thought I might be able to do this with Flare but that's overkill and you lose all the publishing benefits of that tool. This is not a publishing requirement.)

It's really just storing, tracking, and managing a bunch of content files. The only thing that makes this rise above a pure document management system (if I've got that right) is the editing and revision-tracking of the text and Word files (although I do want to track any revisions of other file types, such as the PDFs). But worst case, I can just store and manage successive complete iterations of each file, since the ones that iterate the most (text files) are usually pretty small.

This seems complicated to me but I suspect a number of you would see this as straightforward.

Thanks greatly for any advice you care to share on this, and I appreciate your thoughts too on any tools or technologies you'd like to suggest.


PS - In the absence of a good open source solution for this, I'd be willing to consider a reasonably priced commercial solution that could do the job.

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