ITKnows, HelpDocs and TeamDynamix KB

I had feedback today that the recent reorganization of content in ITKnows has caused some trouble – particularly where articles had been linked elsewhere (e.g. in Canvas) and the articles were later combined into guides.

As of a couple months ago, we had over 400 articles in ITKnows, many of them were repeats, and given our reorganizations over the Summer, the layout no longer made sense. With help from Todd and others we worked to collapse those articles into guides organized by topic, clarified the categories into which new articles should go, added templates to facilitate creation of new content, archived duplicates, and published many articles that were pending review.

The reorganization of documents in ITKnows is done, now, for the most part. Things should not continue to move. However…

TeamDynamix has a built-in knowledge base that comes with several benefits. (It has some limitations, too.) One of the benefits is that we can put all of our documentation – public and private – in one place, meaning we only have one place to search across both sets. TD’s KB also has the concept of Article IDs, which will make linking to and sharing documents easier.  Referencing an article by ID number gets us away from the problem of linking to a URL that might one day change.

We are in the process of reviewing the features of TD’s KB right now, and I do not plan to immediately move our ITKnows content there. What we have in ITKnows is working for the most part. However, we are looking at TD as a possible new location for the HelpDocs pages. An important dependency for that is to have the TD client portal enabled, and we are hoping to have that accomplished by January. HelpDocs is currently on Drupal 6, and I think is higher priority at this time.

One issue I am aware of for the new format of the guides in ITKnows is that you cannot do a Ctrl-F and search the page to quickly locate content. The guide format looks nice, but is not friendly for quick reference. I will be working on some alternative layouts to make that easier. It’s worth mentioning that if TeamDynamix’ KB looks like it is going to be a winner, we may end up moving our internal documents there soon. I just don’t have enough experience with it yet to speak to that, and don’t want to over-promise.

So, TL;DR:

  • I will be working on the guide format to make searching in ITKnows easier.
  • I’m sorry I broke your links. It was necessary to get ITKnows under control. The breakage should not continue until/unless we move to TD’s KB.
  • We are evaluating TD’s KB as a replacement for HelpDocs (customer-facing documentation) first so we can get off of Drupal 6.
  • The client portal needs to be turned on for TD, and that should be happening in the next few weeks.

Let me know if you have questions or concerns about documentation that I have not addressed.


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