The Eidetic Document Management System allows creation and maintenance of a repository of documents for a moderate sized company's intranet. It focuses on providing version management at a file and project level with a web-based interface for uploading, searching, viewing, and managing documents. This tool provides a quick and easy way for individuals to self-publish documents for sharing with collegues, while maintaining author-based ownership and establishment of ID's and Revision numbers for each upload. Documents can also be collected into folders.

This document provides both a conceptual overview describing how the tool is used, and a brief discussion about the tool's design philosophy with pointers to more detailed documentation.

Viewing Documents

The system provides several organizational hierarchies to help you locate a document, even if you do not know its exact name.

First, a quick list is available on the lefthand side of the page that organizes documents by certain common keywords in their title, such as Form or Template. Note that not all documents will be found through this method, since some documents will have titles that do not include any of the selected keywords.

Second, you can navigate down through the folder tree to find the desired document. When you click on a folder, if there are items stored within it, they will be displayed. The depth of the displayed folder hierarchy can be controlled by the set of three yellow dots in the titlebar. As you navigate through the hierarchy, it will remember the depth you specified.

Third, a search form is available to search across all documents based on certain properties (Title, Subject, Author, etc.) You can find any document this way.

To view a document, click on the document's title. This will cause the document to be displayed, or a dialog box shown to allow you to store the document to your harddrive or select an application to view it. (See `mimetypes`, below, for more information.)

To view the informational properties of a document, click the (i) indicator on the right side of the document list. This shows some 'metadata' properties (title, author, abstract, id/rev numbers, etc.) For some documents (such as PDF's and plain text formatted files), it shows a thumbnail image of the first page of the document.

Adding Folders

Folders are added via the 'add folder' icon, which looks like a file folder with a '+' on it. Folders are linked hierarchically, so make sure to use the 'add folder' icon associated with the folder you wish to add the new folder to.

The add folder form allows you to give the folder a name and description.

Adding Documents

Documents are added via the 'add document' icon, which looks like a piece of paper with a '+' on it. These icons are associated with particular folders, and the document will be added to that folder.

Use the Browse button to select the document to add. Choose the document type and language (click on Details... to see a description of what the options are).

Enter the exact title of the document being uploaded. This will also be used to generate the URL for the document. Any punctuation or spaces in your Title will be converted into underscore '_' characters.

In the Abstract section, provide a brief description of the document. This will be displayed in listings that include this document, to provide a definition of what it is about.

The Status field is freeform; please use whatever term your project wishes to use to describe the state of the document. E.g., Draft, Released, Release 1.42.0, Being Written, or whatever.

Specify the License that the document is being made available as. Click on Details... for more information about the various licenses. If it is not to be open source, please select Proprietary. If it is to be released without any license, you can select Public Domain. If the document is being provided under multiple licenses, select one of them for this dropdown, and add mention of the others in the Abstract section. If the license you are releasing the document under is not available, please contact the administrators at rt@osdl.org to have it added.

Once you have uploaded a document, you can upload new revisions by clicking on the Edit Properties link, found on the document's Informational Properties page.

Giving Document Ownership

The person who uploaded the document is considered the document's owner, and only that person is allowed to submit edits to the document, or delete or move it. Other users will be denied making changes. The author can choose to Give the document to another author via the Give button. The user's exact ID number must be specified.

Admin's can Give documents to anyone, regardless of ownership, so if you need to have the ownership changed on someone else's document, request help from the admin.

Moving Folders & Documents

You can move documents or folders to other folders using the 'move' icon, which looks like a right-pointing arrow. A list of folders will be displayed; select the folder to move it to.

Important Note: Be sure that both the source and destination folders are visible in the tree before clicking on the move button, otherwise the destination folder won't be seen on the move page.

Only the owner of a document can move it. Contact an admin if you need to move someone else's document.

Retiring Documents

Documents cannot be deleted from the system, but can be retired, in which case they will no longer show up in folders or be searchable. To do this, either click the retire icon (a red X) in the folder tree display or on the info page for the document itself.

Deleting Folders

Folders can be deleted from the system by clicking the delete icon (a red X) next to the folder in the folder tree display or on the info page for that folder. Only empty folders can be deleted; make sure to first delete or move all of the folder's contents before deleting it, otherwise it will not permit it from being deleted.


All documents have a 'mimetype' associated with them. The mimetype specifies what sort of file format the document is, which helps in identifying what software applications can be used to view or edit the file.

The application used for a given mimetype is controlled by the user, and set up within their web browser or system registry. Since different desktop environments handle mimetype registration in different ways, you will need to refer to your system's documentation for directions on setting them. You often can find the place to make these changes via your web browser, in an Edit Settings type dialog.

New kinds of mimetypes must be registered with the Document Repository in order for the web server to understand them, and communicate those types correctly to the client-side web browser. A tool has been written for you to help automate the process of collecting your mimetype mappings from a KDE or GNOME based system, and is available here:


This ability to handle mimetypes well is one of the features which differentiates this system from other available open source document management systems - most require manual configuration of document types. More info on the technical background and comparisons to other tools is provided in the next section.

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