Does anyone have any experience of the bulk extraction of documents from the Sims Document Management Server. I've found the files in a folder called DOCSTORAGE but they appear to be encrypted.
Thanks in anticipation
Which documents do you want? There's probably another legitimate way to get them.
creese I find myself feeling very offended. Of course I have considered why they are encrypted. As the DPO at school I know better than most.
matt40k These aren't just Sims files I want. I want them all - Admission Forms, IEPs, letters, reports etc.
vikpaw Yes, I want them all. We are considering purchasing Document Archiving Software (similar to Document Management Software | Document Archiving Systems and Scanning for Small Business, Financial Services, Paperless Office) so that all the files we create can be stored in one place (encrypted). I have been using the DMS since it was created. I have 65,000 plus files stored there but if I can't get them out it would be silly buying the software. I'm sure everyone knows the limitations of the Sims DMS and it's time we moved on.
My next thread was going to be to ask if anyone has experience of archiving software but until I know I can use the library I already have I'm not going to move forward.
Groupcall have a way of extracting the SIMS linked documents, so it's possible somehow.
I think you will be looking at a hefty Capita fee to extract all the files programmatically, otherwise, you'd have to do it manually. That would be a mammoth task. Perhaps, reports, could be exported if you use the same templates each year, but all the other stuff.... well it's mammoth.
It might be worth looking at one of those companies that offers scan to SIMS or autolinking to the DMS (capita website, e.g. Cohesion - RecordLink) - they may also do the kind of archiving you want, and as part of the process if they are a licenced SIMS partner, be willing to write a custom program for you to extract the data. Though, they may not even have a great level of access, because i'm pretty sure they just work by sending the files to the SIMS interface and it's blindly added to the DMS as normal rather than any more direct way.
Just a thought though, as 'we' own the data, are we allowed to request it out of the system. Say for example if we were moving to another MIS, or simply because we wanted it, and they can't charge an astronomical fee for it...?
Thanks Cache. I've e-mailed them - we'll see what they say.
@Anjelica, I don't think you should feel offended at the post from @creese. It was well intended and he wasn't to know you're a DPO at your school. To be fair, other people might come looking at this forum if they wanted to crack the encryption on the DMS for reasons less well intended than your own.
Back on the topic....
Even using a number of different SIMS based reports I think what you want to do will be very difficult to achieve without heading into SIMS itself and manually trawling all the records since there are so many places you can link a file on a pupil, staff, contact or agents record.
The only logical way to approach your problem is by decrypting the document server as you suggest in your OP. This isn't something that is going to be done easily, or for cheap. Certainly not given the volume of documents you're looking at.
As @Cahce suggests:
If your support is direct with Capita then log a call asking about it, if it is with the LA, log a call asking them to contact Capita on your behalf.
Thinking outside the box a little, is it plausible for you to maintain the DMS instead of this additional software, but move it onto separate hardware to increase its performance and allow it to store a greater volume of records in the long term? The DMS does not have to live on the same box as the SIMS Database.
Last edited by superfletch; 9th July 2011 at 03:28 PM.
The problems with the DMS are many and various. The main complaint has always been that if you create documents from a mail merge you can't then automatically upload them to the student files whereas with document archive software it would recognise the occurence of a particular name, tag etc. My aim is for all files to be archived no matter where they are stored then they can be searched as necessary. It won't matter then when people "forget" to upload or if a document refers to one or more students.
I wrote, got called to something urgent, option 1 : Post what I had written and drop a quick smiley in. Option 2: cancel and let you or anyone else possibly corrupt a schools data.... I would have added more by Monday.
I'll bow out of the thread completely now for fear of further offence.. Bye
I've poked arround in the DMS folder on a test system, word documents and the like (which will include profiles, individual reports and the like) are all just within the DMS filesystem (not encrypted) and presumably called when required, the remained of the stuff is scattered arround. Obviously I haven't a clue on the structure and wouldn't recommend going poking arround and pulling stuff out of the DMS filestructure on a live system unless you know what your up to.
Just to expand a little more on what I put, @vikpaw has the right area with the Xporter. The Groupcall Xporter is/was used by CLEO for MIDAS and is how they were extracting linked documents to put in place for the Parental Online Reporting (where ever CLEO decide they are now upto with this project), so we have the reports in SIMS which the Xporter runs and pulls out then uploads any new linked documents.
Have you tried to open any of those docs you found in the DMS folder structure? It's not that easy.
Having access through SIMS is not satisfactory access. It's filtered and one at a time. It's stored in a bespoke manner for a particular purpose. Exporting it isn't straight forward, I was just wondering if we have a right to easy access rather than having to buy in to a third party product.
As someone whose pulls out documents from Sims document server programmaticlly, if you're familiar with the business objects it's fairly simple to iterate through everyone and then interate through all their documents and save them to disk. It would take a long time to process, but nothing particularly tricky in the code.
Anjelica (11th July 2011)
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