For many years it had been the usual practice at BIFAB for every editor to “hoard“ their own information and notes on a wide range of subjects – for example in a card index. However, from the point of view of editorial staff this si-tuation was highly unsatisfactory in the long term, since they basically had no practical access to this comprehen-sive body of expert knowledge in diverse subject areas. And when it came to other searches, there were even greater problems: The company’s contracts were kept in the management office as publisher’s copies, and all the contracts for a year were bound into one volume. Staff who needed to view the contracts were constant visitors to the office – a time-consuming process which also badly affected office workflows, since searching for a contract involved at least two members of staff. Searching for information in the historical publishing bibliographies was also extremely time-consuming, as it involved carefully removing the very old and sometimes very delicate volumes from their shelves. On top of all this, the large number of readers’ queries, which were filed with the answering letters, was getting out of control.
The company therefore finally decided to introduce a document management system. The proposed system would make available all necessary information, especially that contained in the card indexes, in a secure, simple, fast and transparent manner. The company hoped this would both facilitate searches in the publishing bibliographies and provide a clearer overview of readers’ queries. Electronic archiving was also needed to replace the huge contract archive that existed in paper form. All documents needed to be accessible much more quickly, which would be of particular benefit for finding contracts. Direct access to documents in the archive using fulltext searching was needed for staff from all departments. This would require access via a Web browser, to allow external employees and freelancers to carry out searches from remote workstations, and to provide access from the Leipzig branch. The information collected by editorial staff in a vast range of subject areas had to be available quickly and transparently for publication production, as had the historical publishing bibliographies and readers’ queries, which were stored with their replies. It also had to be possible for authorized staff to modify or check the contracts administered in the management office.
An initial Fulcrum database with NT server was replaced by a Microsoft SQL server and a Dell Power-Edge 2650 ser-ver running Windows 2000. Company staff work on 100 Sun workstations and 150 PCs, plus 20 Macintosh computers and 50 Igel Thin Clients. A terminal ser-ver solution provides access from the platforms to the required applications (MS Office, Web browser, Lotus Notes) and a CD-ROM server. There are also two dedicated lines between the Mann-heim and Leipzig offices to link the two sites in an internal and integrated system.
BIFAB had an existing stock of around 58,000 pages to transfer, including handwritten notes, graphics, readers’ queries and associated replies, as well as contracts (around 15,000) and historical publishing bibliographies. The documents consisted of scanned files, graphics and text files, and paper documents.