Re: Summary - Knowledge Base question, more info needed

Subject: Re: Summary - Knowledge Base question, more info needed
From: HALL Bill <hallb -at- TENIX -dot- COM>
Date: Thu, 1 Apr 1999 08:26:00 +1000

People

Anyone looking for high-end documentation/records management, archiving,
retrieval and delivery (i.e., knowledge management) to manage technical
document content should check out the Structured Information Manager (SIM)
system my company is currently assessing for adoption.

We have spent more than a year reviewing all of the SGML object management
environments specifically from the documentation management point of view,
and consequently looked at most products providing document content
(=knowledge) management capabilities. Although we have not yet made our
final selection, the one with the most elegant architecture and generic
capabilities was SIM. Personally, I am convinced that because of its
architecture, it represents the current world-wide state of the art in
managing structured information. Because it seemed 'academic' and was a
product developed here in Melbourne, I ignored it in my first selection of
candidates. When the two systems initially shortlisted failed to satisfy us
that they would meet our requirements I had to do some more homework, and
finally took a close look at what the local text information management
community was doing. Perhaps I am now biased about my perception of how
capable this system is, but I invite people to take their own look at what
has already been done with SIM's capabilities.

SIM's US distributor and support, Kinetic Technologies Inc. (Yes, there are
already enough working installations in the US to require local support)
http://www.kti.com

KTI's blurb on SIM
http://www.kti.com/docs/sim.html

Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology Multimedia Database Systems site
(the developers)
http://io.mds.rmit.edu.au:8000/

The legislatively mandated authority on the laws of the Australian state of
Tasmania. In addition to providing authoritative copies of the law as it
existed at any point in time (after the system was implemented), the SIM
system manages the entire process of developing, enacting and amending
legislation). Users work in an MS Word environment, which the system
automatically converts to and from SGML for management.
http://www.thelaw.tas.gov.au

The Australian Tax Office's public web site delivering everything you ever
wanted to know about the Australian taxation system, regulations and laws.
The public site was developed in-house using SIM's Application Configuration
Environment (ACE) by Tax Office people, not by the suppliers. Their
intranet tax law research system includes everything on the public site,
plus a variety of licensed precedent literature and internal documentation
uploaded from various sources in a range of SGML and proprietary formats.
http://www.ato.gov.au

The third public site worth looking at was put on the Web yesterday (I
attended the launch of the policy document). This is the State of
Victoria's final report on its strategy for managing electronic records,
which - at least in the prototype tests - is based heavily on using SIM's
technology. You have to go fairly deep into the document to find a mention
of SIM, but the people who developed SIM were heavily involved at all stages
of the project.
http://www.vicnet.net.au/~provic/vers/final.htm

RMIT has also implemented prototypes in North America for managing and
delivering aircraft maintenance and operating manuals (Tenix is considering
adopting it for the management of warship maintenance and operating
documentation), and some other secure sites I don't know a lot about other
than they work with gigabyte databases. I understand that SIM has already
been tested to 500 GB of data.

Hope this helps people who are looking at industrial strength document
content management systems.

Bill Hall
Documentation Systems Specialist
Integrated Logistic Support
Naval Projects and Support
Tenix Defence Systems Pty Ltd
Williamstown, Vic 3016 Australia
Phone: +61 3 9244 4170
Email: hallb -at- tenix -dot- com
Fax: +61 4 9244 4242

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