We have a core document, say, a series of standards, that, based on that, we create solution guides, promotional materials, or other supporting documents. The idea is that every time you change that core document, you have a way to trigger or flag all the downstream documents for checking to see if they have to be updated or are fine as-is. It's not always a direct citation of a particular standard, but something as general as "because we have standard 1.3a, we wrote this explanatory document". If 1.3a changes, that explanatory document may need to change, or be removed, even.

I've been reading about document management systems, and they seem to have versioning, but I don't see this particular kind of feature out there. Are there specific terms I should be looking for in evaluating the product, or does someone out there have a workflow that they use to make this process relatively painless?

4 Answers 4


Alfresco (a pure document management system, open source) has this concept.
Alfresco is not for source code, it is designed from the ground to manage documents.

In Alfresco, associations can be drawn between documents.

  • There are 2 types of associations: unidirectional, bidirectional.
  • Associations can be "child association" or "peer association": When you delete one end of the link, the other end will be deleted, or not.
  • You can define rules that will be executed for all children, for instance.

Below is an example: KnowledgeArticles can link to Attachments and related KnowledgeArticles:

Alfresco example content model

You will first need to define the content model that your company needs, which involves some XML editing. You will also probably want a user interface to manipulate all of this, I believe this add-on does it.

Then you could detect modifications and when a modification occurs, add a task to the relevant person(s), and that task would link to all of the child items. That would require some programming, though.

  • Interesting! I think I lack the right verbiage to describe this content, as I did check out Alfresco a bit, and couldn't figure out a way to have this happen. Using your example, could you, then, create some sort of rule that if you modify a KnowledgeArticle, a workflow or some other trigger is set that notes all the child items that need to now be checked? Commented Jan 8, 2015 at 17:47
  • Yes, you could detect modification and add a task to the relevant person, and that task would link to all of the child items. That would require some programming, though. There might be an add-on for this. By the way, good news, I have found an add-on to make it possible to manipulate associations within the Alfresco Share UI, I edit my answer.
    – Nicolas Raoul
    Commented Jan 9, 2015 at 2:14

Borland's StarTeam can do this.

If you record your documents within its version control system and mark dependencies, then an update to one can trigger a workflow that indicates dependent documents for review - including across forked developments.

The number of options for such configuration is too great to list here.

I have no connection with Borland, but have been administering a StarTeam installation for more years than I care to remember.

I've used it not only with software code files but also Office documents (DOC, XLS, VSD, PDF, XPS, etc), CAD files (DWG, DGN, etc) and more. With their interdependencies.

  • Thanks for the recommendation - have you done this much with non-code documents, like PDF files, or other kinds of assets? At first glance (and checking out their case studies) this seems pretty software development-focused. We're more on the program evaluation end of things, so we do have an evaluation tool that's online and needs to be kept up to date, but much of the work is more around people and the conceptual process of an assessment framework. Commented Jan 7, 2015 at 19:05

Autonomy iManage Worksite is the Document Management System and solution to your question. The first document and email management application designed with input from hundreds of professional services users and enhanced with AI-based smart features that boost productivity. Refer this link : iManage Worksite

The core feature of worksite also includes Versioning/Version Management. Whenever you are making a check-in of a document it gets saved on your iManage worksite server. Checkouts can be done for updating the same document or saving the same document with different names. However, for every successful check-ins and check-outs, versions are created and apart from this it also maintains information such as who are people responsible, time checked-in, author name etc. for each updates and each versions of the document.

It also includes feature known as Related documents where one can create a document relation with another document or documents.


In the end, we actually gave up due to reprioritized activities, but I wanted to share that the most promising option looked like Nuxeo's offerings:


They had options for triggers when documents were changed, the ability to create and assign various tasks, and more:

Example of how Nuxeo seems to handle moving a process into a workflow for document management

It's complicated, but it does seem to be the best fit for what we were looking for before we changed priorities.

Also, before we gave up, they were very responsive and helpful in providing thoughts and feedback, moreso than other options suggested here.

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