An organization needs to maintain a repository of information. This includes common knowledge or business specific information such as white papers, user manuals, policy document, knowledge tags, or answers to frequently asked questions. A general purpose document management system can fill the void, however a single purpose knowledge base system will be a far better fit.
A knowledge base provides a means for information to be collected, organized, shared, searched and utilized. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Knowledge_base)
Contents stored in a knowledge base are usually HTML; they can also be accompanied in various other formats for document and used
We can imagine a knowledge base build on articles, white papers, troubleshooting information, FAQs, manuals, policy and procedures. Following could be some of the attribute of a knowledge base.
There are various application platform that can be used as a knowledge base
Following are some of them:
Media Wiki http://www.mediawiki.org/wiki/MediaWiki
As we decided to investigate more, media wiki was one of our obvious choices but once we tried out phpMyFAQ, we found it to be interesting and easy to use. phpMyFAQ looked like a great choice. It has all features you can ask of a knowledge base.
Details on phpMyFAQ
- Content management system: – You can administrate your users, groups, news, categories, FAQ records, attachments, comments, glossary items, stop words in the password protected administration backend.
- Categories and tags: – You can create unlimited categories and subcategories for your FAQs. Your users can browse through the categories. You can tag all records and an automatically generated tag cloud helps your users, too.
- Powerful Search: – Your users can easily find questions and answers using the search feature with search in all languages or in one category. Using the Instant Response frontend your users will find questions and answers while they are typing like in Google Suggest! You’ll also get a list of the most popular searches and you get a graphical report about the search in the administration backend.
- FAQ Statistics: – Analyze the way of your users through your FAQ with the built-in user tracking; analyze the quality of your records with the statistics of the user voting and the number of views on each record. You can also download an extended reporting sheet as CSV download.
- Most popular and sticky faq’s:- The start page of the public area shows an automatically created list with the most popular records and of the latest FAQ entries. You can also define “sticky” FAQs which always appear on the main FAQ page. The sticky FAQs are also the first ones in the category FAQ lists. The most popular and the latest FAQs are also available as RSS feeds.
- Question answers with Attachments
- Revisions: – Store the old entries in wiki-like revisions, so you can switch back to old versions of the FAQ entry.
- User comments: – Get more feedback by your users and visitors, by allowing them to comment on your questions and answers.
- Community modules:- All users can write questions to the system, so that other user can answer these questions. They can also answer these open questions or add translations for existing FAQ records. All these user-generated entries have to be enabled by the administrators.
- Easy to use HTML editor:- Add your FAQ entries using the integrated WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) HTML editor based on TinyMCE and create rich text, links, lists directly through your web browser. Your links will also be automatically verified during saving your new FAQ record. The Ajax-powered Image Manager provides a web interface to browse for image files (JPEG, PNG, GIF, and others) on the web server.
- User and group permissions:- You can assign permissions to users and groups, you can create users and user groups with permissions and category and even record restrictions for viewing and creating/editing content. It’s even possible to secure the whole FAQ frontend.
- LDAP/AD support: Add your company’s OpenLDAP based user management into the system for authentication or just secure your whole FAQ by using HTTP authentication. System also supports LDAP-data mapping, e.g. against an Active Directory Server, including multi-domain-authentication, e.g. against an ADS-Global Catalog
- Various database system support:- MySQL (libmysql and mysqlnd), PostgreSQL, SQLite, Sybase, MS SQL Server, IBM DB2, IBM Cloudscape, Apache Derby
- Export: FAQ can be export as PDF, printed or emailed from the same screen.
- Advanced spam control: – System uses captcha’s, bad word lists and IPv4 and IPv6 ban lists to prevent spam.
Integration aspects (with systems and policy)
This boils down to, phpMyFAQ, a knowledge base system which can be use used in various environment. For example knowledge base for a software, service, business process, educational institute or for a business.
Special thanks to Vikram for helping me out with the research work with testing and a demo implementation for the review of phpMyFAQ