How to set up a workflow for a small team working on dozens of documents and different projects?

Hi there!

I am testing NextCloud to see if it can help us with work within a small team for translation and publication workflows and also to concentrate exchanges and information.

This is what we have: around 170 books and around 800 shorter texts in language A. Most of texts have to be revised and published, some have to be translated in several languages, some already have been translated. Some texts will never be published.

Texts are stored in different formats according to what we have and their history: scanned pdfs for older books, indesign, latex, odt, docx, pages, etc.

Folder names and structure
Each author has a letter (for ex. X) then the kind of work has another letter (for ex. F) then there are three digits. This results in a unique code. For ex. X.F670.
We plan to start with folders named after an author, then within it differentiate Works by kind (X, Y, Z), finally comes the unique code (X.F001, X.F002 etc.) and within it, we would have folders named after the language code: PT, FR, EN. Within them would be the actual files. Does this make sense?

File names
Are something like that: X.F670-pt-Title-of-the-book

One of the files among those with different formats is the most recent one, which is that that we want to use for further revision and publication or as a basis for translation.

We have two administrators, a number of translators and revisers, some consultants. Admins have access to everything. Translators, consultants and revisers should have access only to a selection of folders/files. Some consultants may need access to everything.

Presently, a text/or a group of them is:
0. optionally discussed with some consultant in order to know its story and record it where it can be found by people having access to that text/folder.

  1. Scanned
  2. Optically recognized and usually made into an odt (Libreoffice).
    3.1 Corrected by a reviser according to a set number of steps, say a. b. c. d. e. f. S/he might do only some and this would have to be recorded in a way that the files sharing what has been done (and what is missing) are easily searched for and assigned to somebody to be completed. But it is also possible that all the steps are fulfilled.
    3.2 [alternatively] translated by a translator
  3. Goes back to a Typographer who unifies typography.
  4. Goes back to the reviser who gives it a final reading
  5. Goes to a formatter who formats the file (md or latex) and publishes it on a website.
  6. The final text could also be stored in the folders, but it could also be retrieved from the website when needed. Anyway, there should be an easy way to establish what is online and what not from NC.

Between these steps there might be backs and forths between steps and people if the work has not been properly done or simply because of fine-tuning.

There might be other information or group-information (if it concerns several files) to be attached to the files, for ex. Authorized, Not-Authorized. Etc.

Desirable options
We want exchanges on single files to remain there for further reference.
It would be desirable to be able to have exchanges on group of files
It would be desirable not to create duplicates, but to “transfer” or “share” access to files.
It would be highly desirable to share the bulk of the workflow: that is, the person receiving work is then responsible for sharing it to the person responsible for the next step. That is, once we get the ball rolling, workflow work is distributed among all people concerned.
This workflow sharing should be as easy as possible and admins are prepared to prepare it in advance (thus the question in this forum…)
We would like an easy way to refer collaborators to an existing instruction document, or even to several instruction documents (one for each step) where the details of the work are outlined. We also have a number of videos which may come in handy.
Some users may need to collaborate/exchange among themselves on the work they are performing.

I have started looking into some apps, but having no experience whatsoever, I am asking for suggestion here. Thank you in advance!

Sounds fine to me.

When we work together on some documents or make the review, … we have Versions of the document and some suffixes. I knot this result’s into more files, but in the end it’s easier to see the file/work history.

So for example we have

  • X.F670-V0.1-pt (Title of the book)_AK
    which mean it’s in progress cause V1.0, V2.0, … go to the customer (get released)
    _AK mean that the V0.1 was reviewed by user _AK
  • X.F670-V1.0-pt (Title of the book).odt
    This will be the released document which ordinary get _signed by different people (owner, translator, reviewer, …) so the final document that go to the customer will be
  • X.F670-V1.0-pt (Title of the book)_signed.pdf

If there is some feedback after the relaese of V1.0, there will be V1.1 … which result into V2.0 and get than be released.

For sure the V0.x, … documents will be moved after the V1.0 release into an archiv subfolder.

For sure we are thinking about a DMS System where you have all the workflows visible online, but sometimes it’s easier to share the work and all the steps on filesystem base.

Grateful for your answers and time @DarkknightAK!

If I get it right, you are suggesting to integrate information in the filename and to use different codes for different versions, until the final product is reached.

This gives me the chance to recount how we got to NC!

We were considering something similar to what you describe to tell the truth (using a combination of and some file-sharing system such as before stumbling on NC. What we were missing there was:

Users would have to be told that the file now had their name on.

Shared information
There was no way one could easily keep track of the information pertaining to a single project/file (unless one used the premium version of Tagspaces of course).

Broader exchanges would need to take place elsewhere (Whatsapp, Notion, Email) thus dispersing information.

Shared file/folder access permissions
It is really important to us that different users have access to different material. In that case, one would have to store the initials of the collaborator in Tagspaces and the actual permissions in Syncthing. Already two systems to account for.

This in short is how we arrived at the conclusion that NC might be the solution. I hope that this sheds some light on the whole story.

Maybe Nextcloud is not the right software for you. Maybe you like Git.

Hi @devnull, thank you for the hint. I know git only from hearsay: any suggestions on how to use it?

What is a really nice feature is that you can start a talk about any file. So for example if you develop one file the different writers can have a conversation about the file open todos direct at the chat and as you have an office suite, you can edit the file direct from the web interface.

So in general you can do a lot. From my point of view it’s sometimes difficult to find the right app for the task cause you have a lot of options.