Sunday, 28 September 2014

Charity Document Management System

After a bit more development of the Document Management System for our Academy Charitable Trust (HDMS), I have now got something working which I think is useable.    There may well be some changes once we use it in anger for a while and find some 'features' annoying!


Background

HDMS is a Document Management System that has been developed for Hartlepool Aspire Trust (Catcote Academy).
It has been developed because the Trust is expected to have many policies to ensure compliance with statutory regulations, and these policies are implemented within the trust using procedures for detailed instructions, and forms to record information.
It is important that the latest versions of the Policies, Procedures and Forms are available to staff and key stakeholders, and that changes between versions can be tracked and communicated to stakeholders so they know what has changed when a new document is issued.

User Interface

HDMS has been developed to store the Trust's documents in a single repository (a web server) and present the latest version of documents to interested parties. Users are initially presented with a graphical summary of the document structure.
Screenshot Image The user clicks on parts of the graphical summary to search for specific types of documents (such as Financial Procedures, or Human Resources Policies). This gives a list of documents, showing the latest revision number with date of issue, with clickable icons to download either the PDF version or native version of the file.
Screenshot ImageAuthorised users have options to create new revisions, or edit existing draft documents.
Draft versions of documents are not publicly visible, but can be viewed by authorised users. Approval and issue of documents is managed by the draft document being sent electronically to reviewers/approvers.
The document is issued and becomes the latest version once all the reviewers/approvers have approved the document.
The workflow for creating, revising and approving a document is shown in a set of slides here.
The system stores both 'native' (e.g. MS Word) documents and PDF documents. By default the PDF version is delivered to the public, as this can not be modified accidentally. The system can also store 'extra' files, which may be the source files for drawings or tables of data that are used in the document - this is useful for future updates so the author can obtain all the data used to produce the original document.

Live Version

The live version of the system is running at (http://catcotegb.co.uk/hdms).
The software is quite general so may be of use to other small and medium size organisations who wish to manage their documentation in a systematic way. There is a demonstration version of the system available for testing at http://catcotegb.co.uk/hdms_demo - login as 'user1' with password 'test').   The source code is available on my GitHub repository.
Please let me know if you are interested in using this for your organisation and I will help explain how to set it up, because my installation instructions may not be complete!
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