Tech Talk 9 by Ken Baker
Better Document Management
Novell Teaming 2: Document Management for the Masses
When you first take a look at Novell Teaming, it’s likely because you want a better way for your users to collaborate and share information with their peers. As you dig in and start to use it yourself, you’ll get even better insight on the value it delivers such as the ability it gives you to generate great ideas; then share, act and preserve them; and then leverage those ideas for other projects. Spanning all three of these value areas, Novell Teaming includes document collaboration/management capabilities that enable users to better manage the lifecycle of the content they create.
It should be noted upfront that the document management capabilities in Novell Teaming are not on the grand scale that you would find with a comprehensive and expensive document management platform. Rather, Novell Teaming delivers basic document management for the masses that is easy to use, effective and inexpensive. Perhaps more important is that Novell Teaming enables you to move from the inefficient, error-prone, but often-used e-mail attachment-based document-management scheme to a more efficient and easy-to-use paradigm with version control, access control, histories and powerful workflow capabilities.
Managing the Document Lifecycle
E-mail was never really designed as a tool for content creation, but we use it that way all the time. You create a document and e-mail it out to your team members for review. Hours or days later, you receive five or so e-mails back, all with updated versions of your document attached. You then spend hours sorting through and consolidating the edits and comments. When there are conflicts, you have to decide which edits trump other edits, then hope you guessed correctly. If you don’t want to do the guesswork, you often must have a conference between team members just to sort out the conflicts. The further you go down the revision path, the more complex the problems become. For instance, you might be on your fifth round of edits when you receive an e-mail attachment full of significant edits, but they’re all based on the first version of the document. What do you do then?
Novell Teaming gives you much better control of the document lifecycle by providing a central workspace for document sharing, collaborating, reviewing and revising needs. Rather than e-mailing your document as an attachment to all your team members for review, you simply post it to a folder in your team workspace.
To post a file to collaborate on, you simply navigate to the folder in the team workspace where you want to store it and click on either Add File Entry or Add Files to Folder. (See Figure 1.) Add File Entry allows you to browse to the file to be uploaded. Add Files to Folder prompts you to drag the desired files from your desktop to the displayed folder icon. (See Figure 2.)
Every time you post or update a file, your team members will be able to automatically see it as a recently added item under the What’s New in Team Folders section of their personal workspaces. (See Figure 3.)
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If you want to make sure team members know the file has been posted for review, all it takes is a quick click to send them an e-mail from within the team workspace or your personal workspace. Also, team members who have subscribed to that folder or file entry will automatically be notified when any activity, such as new postings, updates or comments, takes place.
When team members visit the team workspace and click on the posted document, Novell Teaming displays a View window that provides a number of options for acting on the file, including view, edit, export/import, comment, modify, reserve/unreserve, copy, move, delete, report and share. (See Figure 4.) The View window also shows you who posted the file and when, as well as who most recently modified the file and when that modification was made.
Click on the View option beside the filename to display an HTML-formatted version of the file in a new browser window. If you click Edit, Novell Teaming locks the file and allows you to edit it from within Novell Teaming. While it’s locked in this edit mode, no other team members can modify the file, helping you to ensure version consistency.