How should I create an awesome customizable searchable database in 2016?
May 3, 2016 1:30 PM   Subscribe

Technology keeps changing and I know you guys are on top of it more than I am... so helllllpppp! We want to create a database of detailed text information, photos, videos, links, etc. (whatever I can find) that can be tagged and accessed easily when we're looking to provide a client answers on a topic. Before we compile and input it all, I want to make sure we're using the best possible resource to build it instead of just throwing it all into evernote or Excel without looking into other (possibly better, easier and more flexible) solutions.

First off, it has to be Mac friendly. I would LOVE if selected results of a search could be transferred into custom pdfs or printed reports that look nice. Ideally down the road I would like for it to eventually become something clients could use themselves (not right away).


I don't care if it's free or costs a little, I just want the best long term solution that I won't regret. It's going to be a lot of work to create and I want it to be something everyone is happy with so we can focus on content and service.
posted by miss lynnster to Computers & Internet (4 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
Part of this will depend on how your customers contact you, or how you interact with them. If you're just putting something together internally to store institutional knowledge, the standard answer for Macs is Filemaker. If your customers contact you via e-mail or you do any kind of phone support or interaction, then look at a help desk system with a built-in knowledgebase feature, such as Zendesk or Freshdesk or any of the many available cloud-based help desk systems. The advantage there is that once you've created the articles in the knowledgebase, you can just link to them in the e-mail replies, or point your customers to the knowledgebase as part of a self-service type setup.
posted by ralan at 2:43 PM on May 3, 2016

Perhaps DevonThink may fit your need - it can handle pretty much any media you put into it, and it can classify and group related items and suggest other related items.
posted by neilbert at 6:30 PM on May 3, 2016

When you say Mac-friendly, do you mean it has to run as a native Mac application? Or is it OK if it is accessible by a web browser?

It sounds like you're describing a generalized content management system (CMS), and there are a lot of solutions out there that do "approximately" the same thing but differ in the details.

Another question is whether it will be administered by IT staff or non-expert users - that will have a big impact on your selection.
posted by theorique at 4:39 AM on May 4, 2016

If you don't want to pay for Filemaker, there is a much cheaper option called TapForms which may be useful. It's a little rough around the edges, but the developer is actively working on it and seems to be very responsive to bug reports and suggestions in the forum.
posted by bink at 9:51 AM on May 4, 2016

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