Summary - document management

Subject: Summary - document management
From: "Charlotte H. Jacobsen" <chjac -at- AMROSE -dot- SPO -dot- DK>
Date: Tue, 17 Feb 1998 15:13:11 +0100

Some time ago I asked the list about information on document management.
I only got a few responses and mostly from people who were also
interested in such information, but thank you to all.

My question was:

>>>> Right now I am looking at which database to use for source
documents and version control. Ideally, I would like the database to
hold control over all our documents from video clips to scientific
articles. Preferably, it should be intelligent in a way so that if you
make changes to a certain version of a document, it would generate a(n
email) list of keepers of that document. Or if you ask "I am going to
make a 30 min. speech about our company for 20 engineer students. What
material do we have?" it would generate a suggestion for a slide show.

I have found a number of companies that sell such systems, but it is
very difficult to see through their Web information - what is bad? what
is good? what is too expensive? What does the system do? I have decided
to make a database using Access in order to get started and to gain some
experience with databases. All larger systems are compatible with Access
so upgrading will be possible.

Below is a list of all the systems I have looked at:

Intra.doc - all textfiles are converted to PDF. Meant for managing web

Info Select - mostly suited for keeping control of notes, telephone
conversations, letters etc. for personal use

Lotus Domino - looks good - expensive (?)

Folio - looks simple

Platinum Database Management - "add-on" for large systems like Oracle
and Sybase

Inference Content Navigator - looks capable - expensive (?)

Funduc - search and replace across files, e.g. change background color
for a number of HTML files. Free or cheap.

Docs Open - not recommended by Douglas Engstrom (of this list)

ImageTrax (Document Control Systems) - build on Access. I sent a request
for information but never received an answer.

I was quite excited by a system - or concept - called data mining, which
is based on artificial intelligence and able to combine data in a
not-totally-logical way. But data mining programs use data from very
large data-containing systems called data warehouses which again sits on
top of large database systems. These systems are meant for hundreds of
users of thousands of documents.

Another question I asked was:

>>>> Another thing is that I want to make everything as singlesource
documents using FrameMaker. It has the optional text option so that
extra text can be added for hardcopy user's guides and left out in the
version that is going to be converted to HTML for the intranet. This
means that practically every paragraph of text must contain a number of
attributes: for FrameMaker optional text, for HTMLHelp information
types, for database management. How I am going to manage this is still
very unclear to me. <<<<

Somebody on the list mentioned Information Mapping from Infoware. I
contacted Infoware and got quite hooked on their system. They break
everything down into chunks of information and they have a method for
categorizing and keeping track on these chunks of information. It is
based on MS Word. For HTML documents they provide macros for making
"cleaner" HTML than Word does. Documents can be converted to WinHelp and
an HTML Help conversion tool is under development. For print versions
documents can be imported into FrameMaker. Somebody else on the list
mentioned that s/he didn't like the stribed look that documents written
with the Information Mapping method had (because a rule is used to
separate every text chunk). I saw some of their material and I found it
very scannable and easy to get information out of. Besides, it is not a
problem when every text chunk is an online help topic. So, I think I
will go for this system. The prize is app. $2000 including a 3-day
course (without which they don't sell the system) (Denmark).

Thanks again, to those who provided information.

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