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Posted 25 April 2012

Document Repository Now Online

Gavin Blackett, Secretary & General Manager

I’m pleased to announce that our website’s Document Repository has now gone live.

As the cunning name suggests, it’s a repository for documents! It’s a replacement for FreeXchange which was a little unfriendly and didn’t quite do what we wanted it to do. The new system allows any type of file to be uploaded. The system is fully searchable, the files can be downloaded and comments can be left by those viewing the files. Essentially, it’ll allow you, the members, to build a reference library of documents, case studies, tutorials and images.

You can find it on the menu under Membership, Networking, News & View. Once you reach the ‘Welcome’ page, you’ll be able to see links to files under the headings of Recently Added, Most Viewed and Most Active. Above that you’ll be able to see a scrolling bar of headings for the top level of the repository structure. It’s broken down into groupings such as Special Interest Groups, Annual Conference or Working Papers.

You can use these options to drill down into the folder structure, or use the search facility. Once you start this process two things happen: the ‘crumb trail’ bar builds up (to something like Repository Home > Annual Conferences > OR50) and the main area of the screen starts to list the files (as shown below).

The list shows the title of the file, its author, its date of publication (into the repository), the number of comments and its revision number. The final icon shows whether access has been restricted to members or not. Clicking on a file name shows further details in the right-hand panel, including a mini-abstract and any comments made on the file. It also gives a button allowing the user to download the file, or to comment on it.

If you’re logged in, the right hand pane also gives you the option to add a document, or edit those you’ve already uploaded. New versions can be uploaded and this will be reflected in the revision number.

When adding a new document, the user has to specify the title of the file, the author and the date published. A mini abstract of up to 1500 characters should be added to give those searching a better idea of the contents. Similarly, a list of keywords should be added to improve search results (especially for non-standard formats – see below). The user also has to specify where the file should appear in the hierarchy. It can appear in more than one place, but we’ll need to be sensible about this. If the user is unsure where to put it, that decision can be left to the administrator.

The Search facility in the new system is much more powerful. It will actually search the text content within the file of the following formats:

  • Word (.doc and docx)
  • PDF
  • Excel (.xls and .xlsx)
  • Power point (.ppt and pptx)
  • Txt and Rich Text documents

You can upload any file type but the search system would just use the metadata/keywords/title/abstract for the non-standard formats. We’ll be encouraging presenters at our conferences and events to upload their files. I’d like to encourage you to do the same for any document you think the wider O.R. community would benefit from seeing. Any feedback on the system will also be appreciated. Happy hunting!

Published in April 2012 Inside OR