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How to make a database for documents

We have about 150 unique forms that are filed in 32 different folders according to form type and client and union, etc. Many of these forms are duplicated in two or more folders and the difficulty comes when a form is updated and not replaced in all locations or when we can't recall which folders they are in and have to search them all. I am looking for a database solution, (like a playlist) so that there is just one document source and an infinite number of customized and ordered lists relating to those files so that a user can simply select the "Government Forms" list and have all the current forms ready to access. Do we have to hire a database designer for this or is there an out of the box or possibly freeware solution to this predicament? (No file needed)
1 Solution
Dave BaldwinFixer of ProblemsCommented:
The biggest thing is to have a plan that accounts for the different versions and needs.  You can start that on a spreadsheet.  MySQL and SQL Server are better for multi-user access than Microsoft Access is and they're both free (SQLExpress is free).  And yes, somebody has to know what to do with the database.
>> is there an out of the box ... solution  to this predicament?
yes, there are many document management systems (DMS) available

yes there are "freeware" and "open source" products of this sort

I am mostly familiar with big enterprise (and hence commercial) solutions, and organizations such as Gartner/Forrester have annual reviews of these (often you will get these offered to you free by vendors who get good reviews). These are often valuable sources of information about 'the marketplace' and can give you insights into what to look for and/or avoid.

Here's one such but for
 "Document Output for Customer Communications Management (DOCCM)" *****
by Forrester
note, this is from EMC (a vendor)

There is a very wide range of products that will claim the badge "Document Management System" ranging from single-user PC products up to products designed for Federal Government Departments.

So if venturing into this - be clear on what it is you want.

I stumbled on this just now: document management software review
a. it looks like this may be selling the solutions
b. looks to be concentrated on the "lower tier" of possible solutions
c. appears to be all commercial (but I may be wrong)

It might give you some ideas though.

Cloud based solutions will also exist I bet (but I don't have a list of such vendors)

Gartner/Forrester et al make a living by inventing "market segments" and abbreviations for these, you will often find each will use their own (e.g. Gartner I believe claim to have "invented" ERP). That "DOCCM" above is an example of this at work.

However the DMS "segment" had been around for a long time so I think you should be able to research using "document management systems".

Regarding databases, Oracle is also an option (and there are free versions of this too). Personally I would much rather look at what the marketplace has to offer before a D-I-Y approach is chosen. Then, if you go D-I-Y, absolutely you should get professional help in design/build.
rumorandfollyAuthor Commented:
This has gone onto the back burner and no one wants to spend time or money on it at the present time. Thanks for your answers. Most likely I will be circling back around to this again in another 6 months. Please close the question as I have a new one!
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