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My client is a not-for-profit that shelters cats and dogs. To fulfill their mission, the organization provides veterinarian care for the animals. The resulting veterinarian documentation is necessary for government licensing and is also provided to people who eventually adopt the animals.

The organization is staffed by volunteers who currently store the documentation on their personal machines with varying degrees of taxonomy. As you can imagine, keeping the documentation organized has become quite difficult.

The organization has a website where they publish profiles of the animals. These profiles are stored in a database.

I'd like to enhance their existing website to upload documents to a cloud-based document management system, and associate the path to that document with the animal's profile. Ideally, the document management system would provide tools for synching the documents to a user's local system (like Dropbox), and provide document viewers (for users who don't have, say, Microsoft Word installed on their system).

What storage solutions can I integrate with an existing website?

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    owncloud.org is PHP-based server software which can do the file sharing service for you. Background file syncing client is available. But I'd first try to utilize something like shared Google Drive – xmojmr Jan 25 '15 at 18:41
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Google has many public API.

https://developers.google.com/drive/v3/web/downloads

Also you can access google docs programmatically.

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In my answer I distinguish two challenges:

  1. centralise data and make it accessible.
  2. make information out of data for those who need in a certain context.

Add 1. You could implement the cloud storage idea in an intranet. Based on a CMS that has either an extension to file management and / or a connection with Dropbox, Box or Google Drive/Docs.

Add 2. In a not for profit that shelters cats and dogs, there might be volunteers around that come and go. You might need a good tracking system of cases under which data has been created, updated etc. Extend you site with a teamwork tool / casetracker.

A not for profit might enjoy an open source solution (no license fees). When you combine 1. and 2. data becomes accessible information for those who are authorised to do so. My answer would be: extend your site with an open source tool and / or low cost SaaS solution for team-work first (Basecamp, Asana, Redmine, OpenAtrium, OpenLucius, etc.) and then extend this with a document management system, if needed.

A wiki (guidelines, rules, reusable documents, example letters...) with documents uploaded in the context of a text could work for you too. The wiki uploaded documents could be accessed via a filesystem like interface as well as inline. My experience in that perspective : Mediawiki (engine under the hood of Wikipedia).

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Have you looked at sheltermanager.com before?

It has almost every documentation feature that you're looking for like:

sheltermanager.com contains a full word processor and online application form facilities:

  • standard adoption contracts, invoices, cage cards included and fully editable

  • document storage and archiving with all records

  • secure electronic signatures via any mouse/pen/touchscreen device, no paper required!

  • sample application forms included for adopters, volunteers, fosterers, animal observations, etc

  • create your own application forms that can be submitted directly into ASM from your website

  • application status management, automatically create ASM records from application forms

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