Census counts on doc system

"With all the documents that Census has converted into electronic form, there's a
strong need for such systems," said Janette Mon, a project manager at the Economic
Planning and Coordination Division in Suitland, Md.


The division conducts an economic census every five years and compiles monthly,
quarterly and annual updates on business activity in the construction, manufacturing,
minerals, retail, service and wholesale industries.


More than 100 users can access the Docs Open document management system on a LAN, and
thousands of others point their Netscape Navigator browsers to it on a corporate TCP/IP
intranet.


Among them are clerical users in Jeffersonville, Ind., who process census data and have
read-only access to the document management system, said Doug Miller, a project manager.


The agency bought Docs Open in 1995 through a General Services Administration schedule
contract with PC Docs Inc. of Burlington, Mass. Census, a Commerce Department agency,
bought a site license at $250 per seat and uses Version 3.53. Census employees search Docs
Open with a search engine from Verity Inc. of Sunnyvale, Calif.


Division officials selected PC Docs after a review of 45 document management products.
Miller said reviewers chose Docs Open for its application programming interface kit for
integrating customized documents.


Another reason was that Docs Open's security features can restrict access to privileged
information such as congressional correspondence and internal budget information.


FileNet Corp. of Costa Mesa, Calif., is PC Docs' chief competitor in the document
management market.


After a year-long, 25-user pilot, the Economic Planning Division expanded the system to
its current 157 out of 850 users in the division. It recently began upgrading to 32-bit
Version 3.7 after moving desktop PCs to Microsoft Windows NT Workstation 4.0 from Windows
for Workgroups 3.11.


Docs Open 3.53, a 16-bit application, runs under Windows NT 4.0 and Novell NetWare 4.1.


Miller said it works well with the division's other desktop applications: Corel Corp.'s
WordPerfect 6.1 and Lotus Development Corp.'s Lotus 1-2-3 Version 5.1 and cc:Mail.


Users can create 1-2-3 and WordPerfect documents and send out cc:Mail from within Docs
Open. "We're testing cc:Mail going into Docs Open," she said.


Docs Open lets the authors determine access rights for other users. Authors can
customize profiles stored in a Structured Query Language database with each document.


Three Census employees who received training from PC Docs have trained their colleagues
in a classroom, Miller said.


Census, the Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Small Business Administration must
adhere to international business classifications, so they are adopting the North American
Industrial Coding System as a replacement for Standard Industry Codes, Mon said.


That changeover has led to a large expansion of data that Census must track, she said.


Future plans include putting administrative functions, such as budget documents, into
Docs Open and building a research library of papers by Census mathematical statisticians,
Miller said.


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