NextPage manages documents with a light touch
Unobtrusive document tracking fits smoothly into existing workflows to provide basic, no-frills management
The first time a new document is saved, Document Retention prompts the user to select an existing project to add to, or create a new one. Document Retention automatically tracks any new documents that the user creates, but needs the user to assign them to the correct project before tracking can begin. While only administrators can create permanent projects that are visible to all, anyone can create a private project that can later be made permanent. This allows individuals to begin work immediately without a cumbersome permissions process — a good example of Document Retention trying hard to not get in the way of getting things done.
Document Retention assumes that copies of a single document created using the Windows Explorer "Copy Document" function are part of the same project. One caveat: When I created a new version, using Word's "Save As…" function, Document Retention asked whether it should be considered a new document or a version of the old one. This is probably a reasonable default, since "Save As…" is frequently used when one document is used as a template for another, often in a different project. Still, it could result in document copies ending up in another project unintentionally if people aren't careful when they select projects.
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To test Document Retention's ability to manage documents that users share via e-mail, I sent a Word document to the other machine and saved the attachment. Document Retention not only successfully tracked the file I saved, but kept track of temporary copies that Outlook used in managing the attachments. A convenient "Delete" button allows these temporary files to be easily cleaned up.
It's important to note that Document Retention is a tracking system, not an enforcement engine. If you e-mail a document to someone who is not using Document Retention, that action and the recipient will be recorded, but any changes they make to the document and any copies they create will be will be invisible to the system.
There can be some delay, on the order of a few minutes, before the dashboard registers actions that others are taking. This was obvious in a test scenario, but in real usage would probably not be critical.
A global view from little pieces
After an hour of successful editing, it was time to close the project down by making an archival copy of the document and cleaning up the various versions floating around on the two machines.