Sample of a white paper document management
Executive Summary Documenh document management systems EDMS consist of an electronic repository where documents are stored for easy access by multiple users. EDMS also provide formatting and security parameters for accessing documents. EDMS have been developing for about 20 years z have now become quite sophisticated. These combined traits have made EDMS indispensable to technical writers and their employers.
The two main parts of an EDMS are the repository and authoring tools. There are four main types of EDMS in use: Basic systems are used in many small companies. These systems are homemade and the repository is usually just open server space, while the authoring tool can be anything users choose. Archival systems are usually associated with universities and many have been developed in-house. Though large, academic archive content is often static and most of the publishing work is in formatting and cross-referencing documents written by contributors.
Commercial systems are solutions developed for sale. Companies who routinely produce documentation use commercial systems, which provide a secure, structured repository and a specific set of authoring tools. Industrial systems are very robust, highly customized systems for use by governments or for large projects.
These systems usually have very specific features developed for the purchaser and may be designed for use with one main authoring tool. FrameMaker seems to be documment authoring tool of choice for commercial and industrial systems, but there are a variety of companies providing electronic repository services.
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EDMS are technical writers' working environments. EDMS are the primary tools used for creating extensive documentation, and a good EDMS greatly simplifies workflow, saving time and money. Technical writers should familiarize themselves with the four types of EDMS and when interviewing in order to ask intelligent questions about the target company's system.
Depending on the statute of limitations a company finds itself obliged to, there could be a need to maintain a vast swath of documents that fall into that category. Anzac Ship Project EDMS interface. Birth of EDMS As soon as two computer users decided to share a single document file, EDMS were born. Austin has spent many years writing code for document management systems. EDMS are used to store scientific papers, author instructional documents, and create and maintain msnagement host of other data sets.
Technical writers are likely to become subject matter experts on EDMS as commercial systems become more common. Understanding how to best more info EDMS technology can add significantly to a technical writer's value in the job market. Introduction This paper presents the results of an investigation into the impact electronic document management systems EDMS have on technical writers in their work.
EDMS are probably the greatest addition to technical writers' toolbox since authoring software came managemet widespread use. EDMS are used to store scientific papers, author sample of a white paper document management documents, and create and maintain a host of other data sets. In each case, those moving documents in and out of EDMS are technical writers in one sense or another. This paper contains a brief history of EDMS, an overview of contemporary EDMS illustrated by four examples, and a summary of how technical writers can prepare to discuss EDMS in an interview.
Birth of EDMS As soon as two computer users decided to share a single document file, EDMS were born.
The next step was to deliberately create centralized file space for use by employees. These nascent EDMS networks sprouted with the technology boom. EDMS of the mids were often handcrafted systems running on industrial strength computers at a universities and large technology companies.
You can function more effectively and enhance your business all while reducing costs. The paper is whige part of the active archive West. As staff transact within and without of the organization, consistency and efficiencies can be enhanced when documents are shared, approvals digitally input and policies enforced by mapping dynamic rules into a DMS enabled workflow. The group has studied commercial solutions, but cost is prohibitive West.
In the mids, all technology companies, large or small, had the capacity to organize central repositories with separate areas for sales, marketing, accounting and engineering departments. By the late 90s, industrial-sized EDMS became commercially available. EDMS have now come full circle and are available as industrial strength servers with highly customized and flexible software.
The growth of EDMS added a new dimension to the duties of technical writers. The EDMS is to technical writers what the lathe is to a machinist or the workstation to an continue reading. It is the hands-on tool in technical writers' working environment. Many people touch the EDMS, but technical writers use it as a primary tool-to publish documents.
Technical writers will find a variety of EDMS when they start new jobs. A good rule of thumb is the greater the number of computer users at a company the more sophisticated the EDMS is likely to be. Naturally age and configuration will affect the quality of the EDMS. The answer is to learn about EDMS in general and about specific systems whenever possible. The remainder of this paper will give an overview of EDMS in the workplace and some examples of what organizations are using today.
EDMS Today EDMS applications "focus on the control of electronic documents, document images, graphics, spreadsheets, word processing files and complex-compound documents through their entire life cycle," Bielawski and Boyle 1. As sample of a white paper document management as that definition sounds, EDMS can be very simple. One computer acts as a repository for the documents, users at their own computers can access the documents and changes are uploaded to the repository.
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Repositories are anything from open server space to highly structured, secure commercial software installations. In all cases, repositories are essentially large capacity data storage sampls that contain and control documents and associated information Bielawski and Boyle The documents in EDMS repositories can be stored as Word, Excel, Dreamweaver or any other type of file.
These software programs, called authoring tools, should be selected based on the final publication requirements, and audience needs generally point to mwnagement best software choices Bielawski and Boyle Highly sophisticated EDMS will have only one or two authoring tools chosen to accomplish specific tasks. Thus, an electronic document control system consists of a repository and associated authoring tools used to create content available to multiple users operating under a set of protocols that ensure consistency and security.
Papwr Types of Paperr Basic Systems Basic, homemade EDMS are the norm at many small companies. The EDMS at Omniva Policy Systems, a person software company for mangement this author worked, is simply reserved space on a server accessed through the company intranet. Virtually everyone in the company creates or alters documents xocument a daily basis in whatever authoring program is required. Each department has a pass-protected folder and a general og folder. Employees also have personal server space for storing non-public documents.
Using a browser, employees click to the folder needed. Files can be dragged and dropped to the desktop for alteration, then saved to xample server. Using the system is as easy as accessing folders within a desktop.
Document Management for Insurance Industry admin T Austin has spent many years writing code for document management systems. Each department has a pass-protected folder and a general storage folder. Reduce risk of fraudulent claims Having a controlled environment, where users or groups of users are pre-authorized to view or modify certain documents; role-based rights to allow viewing and editing but not exporting or deleting documents; ownership overrides to maintain the ownership of files created by other users, etc. This user-friendly system allows technical writers to access documents even if others are using the file, exchange appropriate files with engineering groups and maintain the finished manuals in the EDMS for correction and revision Shopkow. Convert paper documents to digital files Solve customer queries instantly Prepare for claims and requests faster Retain document as long as wanted Never lose a document again Being a data-driven industry, insurance agencies and firms have to be careful with their documents.
This document management system is for general use, has no user-specific functions, and any software can be used for authoring. For an experienced computer user the learning curve is short and flat-a few hours at most. Technical writers joining small companies using basic EDMS will require some information on how documents are stored in whit repository, but authoring tools should be familiar to them.
Archival Systems Academic archives are among the most common EDMS. In the early days of computing, universities had both the documejt and computing resources to construct large archives. These archives are quite different than those found in commercial organizations.
University archive content is largely static-changes to documentation are not the norm-but the information does have to be carefully ddocument and cross-referenced, and the archive must be smaple, reliable and accessible from around the world West. Stanford Linear Accelerator Center has an archive of learned papers and conference articles associated with its work. The electronic sample of a white paper document management department under Sharon West, electronic publications manager at SLAC, gathers papers written by SLAC scientists scattered across the globe and ensures they are posted to a universally accessible archive and cross-referenced documnet Stanford's SPIRES document database for high-energy physics http: Many users have access to the articles, but virtually no changes to content are made after posting, and the archive acts as a long-term storage facility West.
The SLAC EDMS, designed and built in-house, is based on older technology. The system has been around for over a decade and works just fine-articles are available in a few seconds-but the database requires very specialized programming skills for proper maintenance and cannot be upgraded readily due to lack of compatibility with new programs. Electronic publications department workers are used to the system, but their jobs are impacted by the outdated technology.
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The electronic publications crew papre a lot of time hunting down papers that could have been captured automatically by a more sophisticated system, according to West. Instead, the group acts as a clearinghouse for documentation written and read by scientists around the world. SLAC electronic publications workers handle 30 to 50 new articles per month. When the group is notified of an article in the pipeline a document number is assigned and pre-print publication rights are established.
Articles coming into the SLAC electronic publications group generally arrive in a special word processing language samplle LaTeX pronounced lay-tex. Since authoring takes place outside the electronic publications group, workers spend time checking for formatting errors, verifying citations and converting the documents to PDF files. The PDF files are plugged into an HTML template, some metadata is added for identification purposes, and the articles are posted to the web archive. Next, the group updates the SPIRES database so researchers can find the article.
Finally, the docujent is notified of the posting and catalogues the document. The paper is then part of the active archive West. SPIRES database listing of an SLAC archive article. Note the careful formatting and the number of cross-references. The Sample of a white paper document management archive started out on a now-outdated VAX computer and there it remains. VAX computers were industrial strength computers introduced by Digital Electronics Corporation in and phased out in Lowe and Arevalo-Lowe.
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The SLAC system is powerful, but old and highly customized, so finding programmers to work on it is difficult. The SLAC electronic publications group is looking at a new document intake process in which authors have one point of entry for registering and submitting papers.
The group has studied commercial solutions, but cost is prohibitive West. Since the SLAC EDMS is mainly used for storage and retrieval, not revision and printing, SLAC can get away with the current system as long as it can find someone to service it. The SLAC electronic publications group is able to function with old technology because the mansgement are not highly specialized. The repository need only be stable, available, and searchable. The authoring tool is not very important because the electronic publications workers interface to format and dovument documents before uploading to the archive.
Technical writers maintaining archives such as those in a university environment will likely need to train specifically go here o equipment and software at each facility. For-profit companies have much different needs, thus technical writers use much different skills.
In commercial environments, technical writers use specific authoring tools kanagement specialized EDMS. All documents will be created using FrameMaker, Word or some other commercial word processing, authoring or layout program, and protocols will be in place for naming and storing documents. Commercial Systems Companies who managmeent documentation to accompany products have sample of a white paper document management, but not uncommon EDMS requirements. Coupled with a repository, good authoring software can make production of multiple or large documents considerably docuemnt.
There are a number of commercially available EDMS solutions for producing good documentation.