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I am working at a University and we are looking for a new database system for logging and management of lost property items we receive. Due to the Universities rapid growth, the amount of items we receive has gone up making our current Excel Sheet very tedious and leading to items being 'lost' or missed from the system causing delays to our overall job.

The amount of items we receive in a week ranges from 200/300 items, all needing a unique identifier for easy cataloguing, a description (100 characters max), a location found, date logged etc.

We preferably would like this to be a GUI input method that multiple departments can log and tag themselves which is then outputted onto either a receipt (to be connected to items) or simply on a report. This can then be looked at and searched through. The obvious option for us is using MS Access and going through a relational database route however we was wondering if anyone knew of any free (or reasonably priced) software that may make the whole process easier? We have been set up with a Sharepoint page too which may aid with the GUI.

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You should be able to do this in most of the content management systems like Drupal, Wordpress, Liferay, Sharepoint, etc. If you are using any of these systems within the university, it is advisable to leverage what is being used. I would not advise using MS Access for this.

I would recommend Drupal, inconjunction with some of its modules:

  • It is web-based, open source, and can be self-hosted. Input will be GUI-based.

  • The LDAP module will enable login using Active Directory/LDAP accounts, so you can use the same login as for university if you use ldap.

  • There are a number of ways to create "Lost Items". For instance, you can have a "content type" called "Lost Item" with relevant fields like: name, description, location found, date found, date logged, unique identifier (this can be automatic using one of the appropriate modules) etc. This is essentially the entry form.

  • You can use its "taxonomy" for categorization and classification. This way you can sort/view based on taxonomy. You can also create additional tags as required.

  • Permissioning can be done using a module like content_access and restricting specific fields to certain users/roles.

  • Simple or sophsiticated searches/reports can be setup using the "views" and search_api* modules.

To use drupal, you will need to invest some time to understand how it works. But it gives you the ability to add additional modules for new functionality as the system grows.

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  • This is extremely helpful, thank you! We were thinking of using Microsoft Forms for Lost Property requests however this could all be integrated into one system with this, thanks again! – Adam May 2 '19 at 13:29

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