Home content management

So my dream of having a home based content management system is one step closer to reality. My new work felt that I needed a fax machine, so they picked up a Brother MFC-8220 for my home office. This is an all-in-one unit that has fax, copy, scan, print. It’s got a very nice b&w laser printer built in and does very well with copies and scanning, haven’t tried out the faxing yet. The best part for me though was the 25 page auto document feeder for the scanner.

It comes with a version of PaperPort from scansoft, PaperPort 8 SE, which is a rather nice app for scanning and managing documents. The only problem was that it wanted to save things in a proprietary format. This concerned me because I didn’t want to put a lot of work into scanninng documents only to have them be locked up in a format that I couldn’t really use. A quick check of scansofts webpage though and I found that they had a version 10 out of PaperPort, for $69 upgrade of $99 full, that defaulted to pdf for the documents. It also ocr’d the text and provided a searchable index of documents. This was exactly what I wanted. I purchased and downloaded the software and was up and running in no time.

I was able to crank through most of the documents in my filing cabinet in one evening and arrange them by type of document. The next step was to put the dirs where I had all of the pdfs under cvs control and to check them in. I’m now able to check out all of the pdfs from any of my computers and I use a mix of linux, mac, and windows and view the documents. The documents are also backed up across the different systems and cvs manages the versioning.

For managing the cvs repositories I use Eclipse, which is available on all of the different platforms and because no other app comes close to its cvs tools. So at this point I think I’m 90% to where I want to be with home document management. The only issues are that the scanner won’t do duplex, but it does allow you to scan through a stack of pages and then flip them over and scan again and is able to interleave the pages properly in the final pdf. This is a small pain, but not really a big deal. I’m incredibly happy with this setup.