Tips and tricks

This article is intended for IT professionals, business analysts and consultants responsible for the implementation of Oracle Knowledge (formerly known as InQuira). It addresses the issues and questions you might have when encountering requirements involving attachments.

Most companies would like to use attachments in their knowledge management system. In Oracle Knowledge (InQuira) this is not any different.

Before you create the schema of the channel which includes an attribute to store files, you should consider a few things. In this post I will mention some of the most important ones which could influence the performance and maintainability of your system to a large extent.

Before you add one or more attachment attributes to a channel schema, think about versioning. Is it necessary to keep the version of each (sub) version of the document? If the attachment attribute is created in the channel schema as a regular attribute, the attachment is saved as a separate file every time the content item is saved.  This could have an enormous impact on the disk space needed to maintain every version. We have seen this in past implementations where after 3 years of use the amount of attachments linked to published documents was reduced to only 5% of the total. This means 95% of your storage is only used for maintaining history.

The decision to store these old versions should be based on the frequency of use and the importance these old attachments have. The “value” of old versions should be higher than the additional costs of storage.

A solution could be to store the attachments in a schema attribute. In this way the attachment is only saved once and used by every version of the document. Another possible solution is to enable the “remove minor versions after publishing” checkbox. This results in all minor versions, including attachments, to be deleted when the article is published.

Another thing to consider is the decision where large attachments like books and videos are stored. Should they be stored in Oracle Knowledge, or is it better to store them in an external system and reference them from your documents? Large attachments have impact on the time needed to save documents. Each time the document is saved, the Lucene index process will index the complete document which can result in higher processing times when saving documents.

Should attachments be indexed or not? If attachments do not provide enough information or context without the article to which the file is attached, usually the best option is not to index the attachments. In this way you prevent the users from opening the attachment directly from the search results without considering the extra information given in the article.

To improve the findability of the information when attachments are not indexed, an abstract of the attachment could be included in the article. This abstract will be indexed which results in a better find ability.

Should your company need additional help on how to use attachments in your Knowledge Management application, our consultants are happy to provide you with a custom made advise. Contact us for further information.