Free or open source case/investigation software

I have an old client who is looking for investigation (or case) management software, but they don't have much of a budget and I don't have time to write anything from scratch for them. They're interested in something free or open source, but I really don't know anything about this kind of software. As they've explained it to me, they don't need anything complex or high-end. They just need a software system that will let them do the following:

- Create and maintain individual case records
- Link or track contacts and associates related with a particular case
- Link investigators who are assigned to a particular case
- Allow for the entry of notes, information, and updates for a particular case

If I had more time, I could probably write something to do the trick for them, but at this point I don't, so I'm looking for existing solutions. Free (or open source, requiring some minor customization work on my part) is preferred. Web-based, Windows, or Mac are all fine. Does anyone have recommendations for this purpose?
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elorcAsked:
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younghvCommented:
I don't personally use this, but many of my customers do and it may be what your client needs:
http://www.openoffice.org/
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MidnightOneCommented:
While it's for case management, that sounds like there's a lot of commonalities with help desk software.

Are they currently using Microsoft Office, specifically a version that has MS Access?
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elorcAuthor Commented:
MidnightOne: They've been using Excel. It's not pretty, but it apparently has gotten them this far. One of the things I'm looking at as a possible option is CiviCRM. It looks like it might (kind of) do what they're looking for, so I'm setting up a test site for them to play with.
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younghvCommented:
elorc,
If they are already using MS Excel, why are you ignoring my suggestion about OpenOffice?

They should be able to directly import the work they have already done.
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elorcAuthor Commented:
Because OpenOffice isn't really the solution they're looking for. They're looking to get away from the spreadsheet system they're using now in favor of a more proper case/investigation management system. Switching from MS Office to OpenOffice really wouldn't be much of a change or improvement.
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younghvCommented:
Thank you for responding.
I will unsubscribe and let others more familiar with the options continue to help you.
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Boyd (HiTechCoach) Trimmell, Microsoft Access MVPDesigner and DeveloperCommented:

they don't need anything complex or high-end. They just need a software system that will let them do the following:

- Create and maintain individual case records
- Link or track contacts and associates related with a particular case
- Link investigators who are assigned to a particular case
- Allow for the entry of notes, information, and updates for a particular case

I have built and used systems like what you have described. IMHO, what you have described is a lot more complex (high-end) than your client realizes.

I do think a good CRM  and/or project management system woudl be a good start.

Here are some other to check out:

If their business is really important then they will invest in

http://www.salesforce.com/
or
Zoho - There is a free version
http://www.zoho.com/collaboration-apps.html   
http://www.zoho.com/business-apps.html
http://www.zoho.com/productivity-apps.html

other alternatives:

http://www.sugarforge.org/content/open-source/

http://www.dotproject.net/
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sparabCommented:
I've requested that this question be closed as follows:

Accepted answer: 500 points for TheHiTechCoach's comment #a37849570

for the following reason:

This question has been classified as abandoned and is closed as part of the Cleanup Program. See the recommendation for more details.
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