Using the Local Information System as a document library


Previously, to link the Local Information System to one of your documents you had to use a file transfer program to upload it to a folder on the Local Information System's server. Documents uploaded this way are accessible to anyone that knows the document's address.

The document library allows you to store documents in the Local Information System database. You can upload documents through the Local Information System and you can specify which documents should not be available to the general public.

Documents can be retrieved from the database using a URL like this:

For example, to link to a document called GPList.pdf, use:

You can therefore link one or more Local Information System entries to a document using a web link.

If you have logged on to the Local Information System using a valid id and password, you can access any document in the library. If you have not logged on, the system checks whether the document is available to anonymous users. If it is, you can access the document; otherwise, you will see the Local Information System log on request.

This approach means you can link to the document library from a Local Information System entry and:

  • Other web sites
  • Links on desktops

The rest of this page explains how to maintain documents (attachments) in the library.

The maintenance page

We do not link to the document library maintenance page directly from the Local Inforation System. Instead you need to go directly to page MaintainAttachments.aspx.

You must be logged on as a maintenance user to access the document library maintenance page. You are challenged for an id and password if you go to the page without being logged on.

Upload a document to the library

The document library maintenance page is split into two sections. The first is labelled 'Upload a document...'. Click this section to see a form that allows you to upload a document:

  • A browse button allowing you to select a document to be uploaded.
  • Overwrite existing document check box. Tick this box if you want to overwrite a document in the library with a new version. Otherwise, you will see an error message if you try to upload a document with the same name as one already in the library.
  • Available to anonymous users check box. Tick this box if you want to allow anyone access to the document even if they haven't logged on to the Local Information System first. Note that people need to know the name of the document before they can access it which provides some level of security even if you make a document available to anyone.
  • An upload button. Click this button to start your upload. If your document is a large one the upload might take some time so be patient. Once complete you will see a success message.

Note that browser developers build stringent controls around the file upload control. That means we are unable to validate it until it has been uploaded to the server. The system checks:

  • The file is not empty
  • That its name does not contain characters that are invalid in Windows
  • The file does not already exist in the library (unless you specify it can be overwritten)
  • The file has an extension contained in a list specified by the AllowedAttachmentExtensionList setting (see the Intranet Installation Guide for more information)
  • The size of the file is not greater than specified in the MaximumAttachmentSize setting (as described in the Intranet Installation Guide).

The web server implements its own file size limit - which is checked before the limit imposed by the Local Information System. The default is 4Mb, but your ISP might have imposed a different limit. The Intranet Installation Guide explains how you might be able to alter this limit.

The web server also implements a limit to the time taken to upload a file. You might exceed this limit if your upload speed is slow in which case you should try a faster connection.

Overwite a document in the library

To overwrite a file in the document library, upload the new version using the same name making sure you tick the 'Overwrite existing document' box.

Change or delete a document in the library

The document library maintenance page is split into two sections. The second is labelled 'Update existing documents...'. Click this section to see a list of documents in the library. The list appears in a grid - similar to the grids you use to maintain web links and document links.

To change a document's name or accessibility, click its entry so it is highlighted with a yellow background then click the 'Change selected document' button. You will see a simple form that allows you to change the document's details.

To delete a document, highlight it and click the 'Delete selected user' button. You will see a confirmation form before the document is deleted.

As you make changes in the grid, the database is updated straightaway. There is no overall submit button.

If you have more than one document in the library, the 'Change selected document' form shows buttons that allow you to move between all the documents in the grid. You might find that a useful way to review them.

You can make each grid wider or narrower by dragging the right side of the grid with a mouse. You can also make individual columns wider and narrower by dragging the divider between column names with a mouse. To reposition a data entry form - perhaps to review items in your grid - drag the form's title.

Suggestions for naming documents

Before you upload a file, we suggest you tidy up the file name:

  • Short names look better than long ones
  • Some special characters are 'escaped' when converted to web references, for example a space is converted to '%20'; removing those characters will make the file name more legible
  • You should consider removing dates from file names, you can then submit an updated version without having to change references to it

For example, you might rename a file called 'General Practioner List March 2015.pdf' to GPList.pdf.

Document library restrictions

The document library stores files in the Local Information System database. Unfortunately, although Microsoft Access databases can store large objects, it makes them unreliable. We cannot therefore support the document library in Access databases. Instead the library requires a SQL Server database. Most, if not all, internet implementations use SQL Server. If you are unsure which database you use, try going to page MaintainAttachments.aspx - you'll see an error message if your system uses Access.

Because the library cannot be stored in Access, you cannot:

  • Create a document library directly in a desktop version of the system
  • Synchronise the library with a desktop system (instead the library remains updateable even if the rest of the database is synchronisable)
  • Backup the library using the backup tool provided with the intranet version

You can, however, use web links in a desktop version to link to documents held by an intranet version. Those web links will continue to work if you synchronise them with the intranet version.

Your ISP will provide tools that allow you to backup your document library (as well as implementing regular backups itself).

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