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SA geek offers easy document tracking solutions

Ever thought how important it is to be able to find your documents just when you need them?

india Updated: Apr 15, 2006 13:17 IST

Ever thought how important it is to be able to find your documents just when you need them? Every computer user has probably struggled with this at some time or another. Now, a geek from South Africa and his team are offering easy document tracking solutions by way of KnowledgeTree.

KnowledgeTree - ktdms- developed by Neil Blakey-Milner from Cape Town allows a user to take the documents generated by their organisation, like things one would want to keep or if you want to know what the previous versions looked like. It even helps to keep track of who viewed the document and remember whom it was emailed to.

Blakey-Milner, 27, product manager of software development firm Jam Warehouse, says: "There's a very small team that deals with open source software, and they wrote this document management system called KnowledgeTree for the South African Medical Research Council (MRC)."

This firm mostly does custom development, using Java previously and a lot of C# now. They do work for the enterprise level or business sector, for the world of finance, insurance and fast moving consumer goods.

"It keeps a transaction history," says Blakey-Milner. It's a web-based platform, written in PHP, the popular scripted programming language that can be used to create websites.

KnowledgeTree 3.0.1 was released in late-March 2006.

Says Blakey-Milner: "We aimed at things like simplifying the interface, providing more help-text. We've been aiming at people who don't necessary know what document management is."

This means making it in a way that they understand each step of the process. It was also worked out to make it possible for the administrator to know what options the users are most likely to use.

Blakey-Milner says: "Document management means making sure all your documents of the organisation, or documents you have, are in a single place. If a particular computer has a problem, the documents are in a central location. It's like a shared network drive."

But where the real difference comes is in terms of having previous versions of the document available all the time. This enables you to track the version of the document, to be able to find the document easily.

Part of that involves assigning metadata, meaning information about the document. Blakey-Milner argues that metadata is really useful for searching.

For instance, if you want to find a document that's part of a particular project, and written by a specific person, this offers real power while searching, he notes.

Blakey-Milner points out that today many countries require that organisations, specially corporations, have a certain level of document history and documentation. So that they can prove they have certain policies in place, and that when they have been changed you know they are changed.

For medical companies there are additional requirements for the retention of this data.