Document management on a shared hosting server?
February 27, 2007 12:43 PM   Subscribe

Help me find an online document management system / digital asset management system.

I'm looking for a document management system (DMS) / digital asset management system (DAM) for my scanned documents. I plan to store all of my important documents, from credit card statements to bills to receipts to insurance info, etc, digitally. I'll be using a scanner with ADF & duplexing to digitize my papers. I need a management system to organize and archive them.

Ideally, I'd like to have some software that can be set up on Dreamhost for a hosted solution. However, to allow for more flexible responses, here are my overall stipulations:

1. Must be free or inexpensive. See 2.

2. Must be hosted online. I don't trust local copies (hardware failure/fire/theft/etc). This applies to portable (DVD, etc) media as well. It does NOT need to be a hosted system per se, in that Company X provides the DMS/DAM software and hosts it. I am willing / would prefer to use a 3rd party host, such as Dreamhost, for cost reasons. They are much more flexible in that they offer tons of storage and bandwidth and whatever else you want for a much lower cost. I don't want to pay $X/mo just for an online DAM. I am willing to pay $X/mo for a shared host that allows me to host anything else I want as well though.

3. Must be somewhat easy to install, configure and use, whether it is a provided & hosted service or a service I set up on a shared host.

4. Does not have to control my scanning experience; I can use a separate tool to get the files digitized but I'm looking for the DSM/DAM service to organize them. Obviously an online service wouldn't have much control over my hardware anyway :)

5. Should have the usual DMS/DAM features: File indexing for a wide array of filetypes (doc/pdf/all images/tiff/archives/etc), support OCR if possible, allow categories and advanced naming/file control, exporting, etc.

I love the looks of Linux DMS tools like DocMGR, but the setup looks somewhat overwhelming. I'm comfortable with basic Linux tasks, but configuring a shared host is a bit confusing to me. Is there any way to even set up such services on a shared host? For instance, is it possible to install DocMGR on Dreamhost? I suspect not, as it uses PostgreSQL and Dreamhost uses MySQL. But beyond this limitation, how does one go about installing their own applications on a shared host? I mean, Dreamhost provides a shell prompt, but not root - are you even allowed to install software? And what about dependencies, etc?

I know Dreamhost offers several "One-click" installable services, like MediaWiki, Wordpress, Joomla, etc, but I don't think any of these are exactly what I'm looking for. I'm assuming it's possible to set up some other service, albeit with more work, but I'm not having much success finding documented "How To's" for this. For instance, how to set up docmgr/doxfs/etc on a shared host.

Also, I know there are some basic Windows tools like PaperPort and Docsvault that do a great job of managing local copies of digital files, but I want them online. I understand I could simply backup a directory to an online host, but I'm thinking a hosted database would be preferable for advanced administration, etc.

Obviously I have a lot of "wants" so this is pretty wide open. Understand that I'm not a corporation and don't need any huge DAM solutions, but I'd like something a little more advanced than a basic client-side software.
posted by sprocket87 to Computers & Internet (4 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
I'm admittedly a bit paranoid, but I'd be pretty nervous about placing that type of document on a host I didn't control without enough encryption to protect me from the host owners and anyone who might slip through their security. You might consider getting a friend to help you install DocMGR on a local machine and running it there. If your primary concern is having some kind of off-site backup you could schedule nightly copies to be packaged, encrypted, and uploaded to as many remote hosts as you want to pay for.
posted by roue at 3:27 PM on February 27, 2007

Holy ass! Storing your credit card statements on a shared host which allows other users to browse your files? You'd better have some *really* good encryption...
posted by blag at 4:54 PM on February 27, 2007

Thanks for the cautious comments. Actually, I've just been considering that myself. I realize that I was a little naive and zealous about this idea. I assumed that if I could encrypt my traffic by using SSH I'd be okay. I didn't think about the data being vulnerable once it was actually on the server. Unless someone could recommend some way to strongly secure data on a shared server, I should probably rethink this :)

I'm thinking what I might want to do is get a strong local DMS set up, even using DocMGR if I wanted (since it's local there's nothing stopping me), and then doing a heavily encrypted archive backup to whatever host I decide.

I'm still mulling through my document management options in general, so please, comments about anything related are still appreciated!
posted by sprocket87 at 7:08 PM on February 27, 2007

Explore public key encryption with GPG (or PGP). You can use that to be relatively safe.
posted by roue at 7:50 PM on February 27, 2007

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