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Document Management Systems

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Posted by Alexander Deliyannis
Jan 27, 2013 at 03:38 PM


I will agree that my use of the term Document Management _System_ for Windows Explorer is a bit far fetched. It is first and foremost a File (including Documents) Management _Tool_.

A System implies that there is some method/procedure/framework, as shown by Slartibartfarst in respect to Knowledge Management. Though Windows Explorer has not much to offer in terms of facilitating such work, I maintain that there is some kind of underlying framework, as witnessed by specific conventions:

- Folder tree
- Default user directories
- Shared folders
- Network sharing
- File associations
- Versioning
- One document - one file
- Files can only be in one folder at a time

All of the above are conventions which facilitate document organisation, development, collaboration and distribution. We take them for granted, but they are not; in the thread on Paperport, a tool is mentioned which puts all documents in one big bucket and organises them via tags. There are tools like Scrivener and PageFour which take care of the file infrastructure, while the user works with ‘books’, ‘projects’ and ‘chapters’. There are other tools which store multiple documents in database files, etc.

In short, one can build a Document Management System using Windows Explorer as the Document Management Tool, and standard Windows conventions as the framework to implement specific procedures. There may be more advanced tools, better suited for particular work; the advantage of Windows Explorer is that it’s already there, wherever you may find yourself.