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Document Management via Teaming



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April 22, 2010 11:30 am

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Authors: Raghu Kota, Aruna Kumari

Table of Contents

1. Introduction
2. Pre-conditions
3. Definitions and abbreviations used in this article
4. DMS Evolution
     Launching Novell Teaming site
     Team Workspace
     Upload a document to the Workspace
          Add File Entry
          Subscribe to This Entry
          Send E-Mail when entry is submitted
          Add Files to Folder
     Access rights to the Workspace
     Document Access & Management
5. Troubleshooting
6. Conclusion

Introduction:

The idea of “teaming” involves letting people from various geographies group together to collaborate and share the data and ideas at a common location. Novell Teaming is a collaboration tool which facilitates online work by creating a “Virtual Meeting Place.”

Novell Teaming has following features:

  • Document Management and Sharing
  • Team calendars and shared task lists
  • Discussion threads, wikis, blogs, and RSS feeds
  • Workflow tracking, progress of documents and tasks
  • Content and knowledge management with quick search
  • Integration with Email, Conferencing and Instant Messaging tools
  • Integrated presence awareness

For many kinds of projects, people may have to collaborate with each other across the geographies and it might be tough to find a common meeting place. Novell Teaming is a perfect answer for that. It supplies a virtual meeting place which reduces operating costs and increases the interactivity among the team members effectively and efficiently.

This article discusses the Document Management and Sharing (DMS) capabilities within Novell Teaming, including:

  • How Teaming can be used to share the document or data with team members
  • How Teaming ensures that no contributions are lost when an employee leaves the organization/ team
  • The pain points when not using Teaming
  • How Teaming effectively maintains the history and different versions of a document
  • How to track the changes made in the document
  • How to notify the team members whenever a new version of the document is available
  • Email notifications through Teaming when changes needs to be communicated to the team

Pre-conditions

In this document, we are assuming the Teaming server is installed, and the users are able to create a workspace to upload documents, and have a minimum understanding of Novell Teaming basic features.

Definitions and abbreviations used in this article

RSS – Really Simple Syndication
DMS – Document Management and sharing

DMS Evolution

Problem:

Traditionally most team members share their documents /reports through email. Each document can go through multiple review cycles and discussions, which in turn might result in multiple replies, review comments and various changes at each stage. Team members may have to spend hours sorting through and consolidating the comments. It can be tedious and difficult to manually maintain and manage various versions of the document at each stage of review. When there are conflicts, someone has to decide which comment needs to be considered and which needs to be ignored. Sometimes, to resolve the conflicts and guesswork, you need to schedule a review meeting between team members who might reside in different geographical locations. As revisions increase, review handling becomes more complex. And when an employee moves across teams or leaves your organization, the team members might or might not get all the versions/histories of the document. This can result in data loss, which can be very costly to the organization.

Solution:

Novell Teaming gives you much better control of the document lifecycle by providing a central workspace for document sharing, collaborating, reviewing and revising. It’s better than emailing the document to all the team members for review. You can simply post it to a folder in the Teaming workspace and notify the team members. Teaming helps you move from an inefficient, error-prone, email attachment-based document management scheme to a more efficient and easy-to-use paradigm with version control, access control, change histories and powerful workflow capabilities.

Here is how you use the Document Management capabilities in Teaming.

Launching Novell Teaming site

Launch a Web browser by specify the URL of your company’s Teaming site to display the Teaming Login page. (for example http://community.kablink.org/ssf/a/do?p_name=ss_forum&p_action=1&action=__login). Login by providing Teaming username and password.

Figure 1: Novell Teaming Login Page

Click to view.

To learn more about the Teaming interface, refer to the following documentation
Teaming Quick Start documentation

Team Workspace

The team workspace is the most common place where each team will have access to share files, share ideas, and work together. The path to reach the Team Workspace will be specific to the team and organization. It is the place where the folders and documents for each team will be uploaded.

Upload a document to the Workspace

To post a file, simply navigate to the path where the workspace resides as depicted below and click on either Add File Entry or Add Files to Folder.

Figure 2: File folder page to upload files

Click to view.

Find more information on Managing Team Workspace at:
http://www.novell.com/documentation/teaming21/team21_user/?page=/documentation/teaming21/team21_user/data/bjqy6oj.html

Add File Entry:

Add File Entry allows a Teaming user to upload a file from their local desktop to the current workspace/folder using the browser window. Teaming will display the updated activities in ‘What’s New’ tab.

Figure 3: Add a file through “Add File Entry”

Click to view.

Subscribe to This Entry:

Using this option as depicted in the picture, all who need to be notified about the changes are subscribed at the file or folder level for the notifications. The modifications will be updated to subscribers with the date, time and modified user details — along with the document — attached. This can be used for the document review process.

While creating /uploading the files/document into the folder, Teaming lets you send a notification through the configured mail service as needed.

Send E-Mail when entry is submitted

This option can be used to formalize the review process, which helps to notify everyone who needs to know about the changes to a file or folder. The tool will automatically govern the whole process of checking-in file updates, notifying team members to review the files, and moving documents through different staging folders as the review cycle progresses.

Figure 4: Send a Mail page

Click to view.

Add Files to Folder:

This is a second way to upload files into the Teaming server, and it is more user friendly, with its drag and drop facility. It’s simple to copy and paste the files/folders across locations, or drag the required files and drop them in the current folder/workspace as shown below.

Figure 5: Add files to folder

Click to view.

Documents can also be uploaded into the Workspace or folder from incoming mails. This feature can be configured so that the incoming mail entries can be uploaded to the folder based on the configuration and access permissions.

Access rights to the Workspace

The uploaded document can be accessed by the team members based on the access rights defined by the administrator in the “Manage” -> Access Control tab (Manage tab can be viewed in Figure 2) for group and individuals access. The tab “Who has access” provides details about who can access the folder and file.

Please visit the following link for details on Access rights.

User access rights

Document Access & Management

To access the document, the team members can visit the team workspace and navigate to the location where the document is posted. Teaming displays a View window that provides a number of options to act on the file, including View, Edit options (near the file) and Comment, Modify, Unreserve/Reserve, Move, Copy, Delete, Reports and Share This Entry as showed in the figure as “Options.”

In this section we will discuss more about how the documents are created and managed. To begin with we will start with “View window.” Different options are discussed below.

Figure 6: View Window

Click to view.

Edit mode: When the document is clicked to edit, Teaming locks the file and allows you to edit it. When it is locked in the edit mode, no other team members can modify the file, helping you to ensure version consistency.

Note: If you want to work on the document offline, you should reserve the document before downloading, and unreserve the document after uploading to the entry. This solves the document synchronization issues when multiple users are accessing/referring to the same doc.

Comment: This option can be used to provide user comments to a document entry, so that others can quickly see the comment and get the intent of the document.

Modify: This option is used to modify the file entry name or description, including file attachments if any. The modifications can be communicated to the team members through e-mail as needed.

Reserve/Unreserve: This option is used to reserve/unreserve the file entry from modifications to maintain the consistency of the file entry. When the document is in the unreserved/unlocked/free mode, then a user is allowed to reserve the document to make changes. This is like document check-out, which locks the file for your changes and others can only read the files during this time. After all the modifications are uploaded, you unreserve it (check-in the latest version of the document to the server).

Teaming helps you have consistency of the documents along with all the versions and history of the document in detail.

Figure 7: extension of View window

Click to view.

Move: This option is used to move the file entry along with its comments and replies from one location to another.

It is used while re-organizing/ re-structuring the document within or across the workspaces/folders.

Copy: This option is used when the copy of the file entry and its comments and replies has to be created in a different location/workspace.

Delete: This option is used when you want to delete an unused file entry or data from the server.

Reports: This option is used to get various reports. The reports contain information like who accessed or modified or deleted the document, including the date and time. Some of the frequently used reports are:

  • User Activity Report
  • User Access Report
  • Content Modification report
  • Disk Usage Report
  • Disk Exceeded Report.

Edit History is one of the Teaming reports which can be accessed by navigating through Reports–>Edit History as shown below.

Figure 8: Edit history through Reports

Click to view.

The Edit history report can be used to compare the changes made in different versions of the file entry and in terms of document.

Figure 9: Edit History Report

Click to view.

Novell Teaming also provides automatic document version and history by which both existing and new members of the team can easily see what changes were made and why they were made. You can easily revert to any earlier version, if needed. Team members can have one common place to go for all things relevant to their project. If new individuals join the team, they can quickly jump into the workspace, immediately see the history of discussions, and quickly come up to speed.

Share This Entry: This option is used to share the entry with the team members as well as with other Teaming users based on the need, depicted in Figure 6.

Entry Permalink: This can been seen below the page as depicted in figure 6, it is a general link which is used to access a file directly without following the navigation through workspace and folder structuring.

Troubleshooting

Problem 1: When you try to add files and attachments to the Teaming site you are unable to do so because you have exceeded your data quota.

You can remove un-used files and attachments that are counting toward your data quota by purging items that you have previously deleted from the Teaming site. Workspaces, folders, and entries that do not contain attached documents do not count toward your data quota.

NOTE:

  1. Purged items cannot be recovered. Before you purge an item, verify that you no longer want this item to exist in the Teaming site.
  2. A JVM on a 32-bit server should not be configured to take more than 1.5 G of memory. As large numbers of users and documents are stored in the server, memory settings need to be higher than 2 GB to provide adequate performance, and the Teaming system should be set up on 64-bit hardware.

Problem 2: You cannot rename a file through WebDAV when you are using the “Access Attachments Using WebDAV” link.

The “Access Attachments Using WebDAV” link should be used only as an alternative means of uploading and deleting files; renaming files is not supported through this link.

The following procedure explains how to rename a file through WebDAV:

NOTE:

  1. You must use Windows XP and Internet Explorer Version 7.0 or later.
  2. Navigate to the File folder where the entry attachment resides.
  3. In the footer toolbar, click View this folder as a WebDAV folder.
  4. Log in to your WebDAV folder, then rename the file.

Problem 3: You are unable to edit files that are attached to entries.

If you are unable to edit a file, Novell Teaming might not be configured to support the editing application that is installed on your computer. For example, if Teaming is configured to use Microsoft Word as the default editor for all text files, but you have OpenOffice instead of Microsoft Word installed on your computer, Teaming displays an error, and won’t edit the document.

To fix this problem, Teaming enables you to override the default editor setting which can be found at the following links.

Conclusion

Full-featured document management is out of reach for most users and businesses due to its expense and complexity. However, the powerful capabilities in Novell Teaming deliver many of the essential document sharing, tracking, versioning and process controls that most organizations need. Even though you might not initially leverage Novell Teaming for document management, that functionality can easily become an integral and highly customizable part of your core collaboration platform at no additional cost—and that’s always a welcome benefit.

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Disclaimer: This content is not supported by Novell. It was contributed by a community member and is published "as is." It seems to have worked for at least one person, and might work for you. But please be sure to test it thoroughly before using it in a production environment.

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