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Is Alfresco right for us?

Question asked by rwhit85 on Feb 26, 2012
Latest reply on Dec 5, 2013 by jtbrne2000
Hiya,

A local non-profit is going to start cataloging documents (paper copies) by scanning them, using OCR to convert them to PDF, then filing the hard copies away. A buddy involved with them approached me (knowing I know a bit about computers) and asked me about a simple database system. They offered to pay me for my time but I'll be doing what I can as a volunteer.

Requirements:
    Fairly easy data entry - Volunteers would be entering the information
    Fairly easy searching by any number of attributes - author, date, type of document, etc.
    Sorting by category
    A link to the location of the PDF for each entry (or stored in the DB if that is appropriate)
    Fairly diverse search options, including searching inside the content of a document
I haven't solidified anything on a server, but a low-power custom built or something like an HP Proliant N40L (AMD Turion II Neo N40L 1.5GHz - Dual Core, 8GB DDR3 RAM) would be within their price range. At the most, let's imagine a low-powered quad core with 8GB of RAM and disk space can be expanded as necessary. In this vein, let's assume it will be running on Linux - I'm most experienced with CentOS and Debian, but can work with almost any variant out there. Buying a Windows Server license isn't really an option.

While looking over the best way to do it, I initially thought of setting up a simple SQL DB linked to their PDFs with all information stored in the DB… but I found some software out there geared towards documents, like Alfresco/Knowledgetree etc. I've heard of Alfresco over the years but have zero experience with it. We are looking at *thousands* of documents - possibly tens of thousands - they've been archiving contributed documents and information like meeting minutes etc. since the 1950's. Large warehouse.

It's *REALLY* important that data entry is straight forward, that it's secure (ie. as secure as a user's name/password), and it's easy to search for documents. A lot of the volunteers for data entry are only as computer savvy as it's required to watch YouTube. As for remote access, it would mostly be onsite, with possible VPN access for volunteers to enter data from home.

Any input or advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!

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