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U Michigan Space Physics Research Lab To Implement New Document Management System

The University of Michigan will implement a new document management system for use by its Space Physics Research Laboratory (SPRL), a small aerospace design, manufacturing, integration, test, and operations organization located in the university's College of Engineering.

The SPRL collaborates with larger organizations, such as NASA and aerospace corporations, and although SPRL is much smaller, its engineering data management processes and requirements are comparable to those of larger organizations. SPRL must maintain document archives, containing requirements, design data, parts and materials traceability, manufacturing and test data, contract and financial performance data, and other information for all of its projects.

The university awarded the contract for implementing the document management system to Formtek, a provider of document and content management solutions. "Formtek has particular domain expertise implementing both proprietary and open source enterprise content management (ECM) technologies within demanding environments similar to that of the university's Space Physics Research Laboratory," said Dennis Scanlon, president and COO of Formtek, in a prepared statement.

The system will be based on Alfresco Enterprise, an open platform for business critical document management and collaboration, which Formtek will customize for the university. The system will house, control, and manage SPRL documents and metadata. It will use a custom content model, automatic document numbering and naming, and a workflow process unique to SPRL.

The university's initial contract with Formtek is for one year. The contract includes the Alfresco Enterprise software subscription, as well as installation and configuration services and follow-up support from Formtek.

The University of Michigan is a public research university located in Ann Arbor, MI. It serves more than 27,000 undergraduate and 12,000 graduate students, and employs more than 6,500 faculty and 18,000 staff. The Space Physics Research Laboratory at the university is currently involved in more than a dozen projects, including the development of a hurricane imaging radiometer (HiRAD), the Mars Atmosphere and Volatile EvolutioN (MAVEN) spacecraft to study the atmosphere of Mars, and the Cassini INMS ion and neutral mass spectrometer. The SPRL also provides education and research opportunities for students at the university.

Further information about Formtek can be found at

About the Author

Leila Meyer is a technology writer based in British Columbia. She can be reached at [email protected].

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