Fog Creek Software
Discussion Board




Low-Cost Knowledge Management Tools?

Does anyone know of any low-cost, but high-quality knowledge management tools?

We're looking for something that will allow us to manage our knowledge base, providing a browser interface to be used by our clients (searching public articles for three products) and by our service reps (searching public and private articles for the same three products.)

We don't need anything too crazy.  We're thinking of something FogBugz-like--not too fancy or high-priced, but gets the job done.

Any suggestions?

Dave
Monday, February 10, 2003

How about a WiKi ?

http://twiki.org/ is a good one, or http://www.openwiki.com/  if you are in a MS enviroment.

WiKis are great for quickly building up knowledge bases, take a look at the Chandler project as a good example : http://wiki.osafoundation.org/

Damian
Monday, February 10, 2003

I agree with Damian. Wiki-wiki is a wonderful tool and I used it in many companies for document management, internal knowledge base, project tracking, discussions, to-do lists, etc.

Most poular wiki engines are probably TWiki, UseModWiki and PhpWiki.

But personally, I prefer the MoinMoin wiki engine. It's written in python, modular, very easy to install, use and extend. Take a look at it: http://moin.sourceforge.net

raindog
Monday, February 10, 2003

Coincidentally, I'm working on developing that kind of product at the moment, a kind of CityDesk with indexing, searching and its own client (umm not a kind of CityDesk then).  It will be a good three weeks before I'll have a 0.9 version.

The only problem with Wiki's are that users who weren't involved in creating the knowledge database have problems in navigating it, it also tends to impose a single categorised view of the knowledge database.

Wikis also (from my understanding) deal in plain text whereas in real world situations you really want to capture documents, PDF's, Word Documents, Diagrams etc.; yet still be able to index and search on their contents.

Simon Lucy
Tuesday, February 11, 2003

I've heard that Six Degrees is good

http://www.creo.com/sixdegress

Joel described it as 'Google for the desktop'

Ged Byrne
Tuesday, February 11, 2003

Ged - should that be http://www2.creo.com/sixdegrees/ ?

nathan
Tuesday, February 11, 2003

I am very interested in this area. Where I work we are loosing a lot of information and we are unable to work together on speculative projects because we have no central storage of information. Also I am not able to keep track of 'future' ideas and concerns with programming projects and system projects. I need a way for our small group to be able to bounce around and grow ideas on possible projects etc. I also want to make it so people other then our tech group starts to bounce around ideas more often.

I am looking for a way to capture some of the following things:

Someone can post:
‘We need to start printing more large format prints in house.’
Then the tech people can start chiming in about it, the finance people, the print people etc. It is a discussion that does not warrant a meeting, but other people are involved.

Someone can post:
‘I want to be able to search the system by manufacturer number too.’
Then I can not only comment on this but also chain this information into where it fits into another project. Like 'Search refactoring'. So I need not only to be able to post one piece of information but also then weave a web of inter-relation so I can have a trail of ideas.

Someone can post:
‘Is it economical to print 2500 containers in house any more?’
Then the accounting heads can start to figure that out and we can back reference in the future what was the basis for that decision so if it was not technology making that decision someone else does not waste time looking into it again.

I have no idea what you would call what I want to do but I am just starting too look into this. Thanks for any advice.

Jeff
Tuesday, February 11, 2003

Might not be on the same lines but interesting ....


http://www.praja.com

Prakash S
Tuesday, February 11, 2003

Jeff: I think FogBugz would be a perfect solution for this.  You can try it out in eval mode for no cost.

Check it out: http://www.fogcreek.com/FogBUGZ/

We use it for bug tracking right now, but will also use it for customer or in-house requests once we release our product. It tracks the entire history of the conversation, as you mentioned, and handles assignment to different individuals in your company.

Dave
Tuesday, February 11, 2003

Jeff: A Wiki would be ideal for your needs, I think.  See http://c2.com/cgi/wiki/wiki?OneMinuteWiki for more information.

Brent P. Newhall
Wednesday, February 12, 2003

Thanks for the suggestions.

As far as a bug tracking tool goes I don't think that will help here. I probably mislead you buy using examples that sound like bugs. We have bugzilla in house allready for this (I actually hate the tool). The problem I see with the bugzilla is that in order to have someone know they need to deal with it I have to assign it to them. The whole handoff structure is so rigorous and that seems off to me. The idea of making notes more structured like a bug is something that is interesting me, but the handoff ownership nessesity is bothersome to me.

The Wiki idea is interesting I have been looking into them. I have actually never used one before. I can say that the core edit and revise the document aspect is nice what I don't like is the cross linking is defined by making WikiWords. I have a feeling that what I am looking for is the ability to place items in a location that they are brought to the attention of a certain individual in a structured way. I want it so when an idea comes up it can be commented on, which seems like wiki, but then be able to be easily referenced as the data pool grows, not wiki.

I am working on defining exactly what I am trying to capture. It might actually try and do it on paper, between me and my core co-workers and see what methods evolve so we can start to figure out how to apply it to the company as a whole.

Thanks for the advice. Any more ideas are greatly appreciated.

Jeff
Thursday, February 13, 2003

*  Recent Topics

*  Fog Creek Home