What is Alfresco?

Alfresco Community Edition is an open source software platform for Enterprise Content Management. Enterprise content management is a "means of organizing and storing an organization's documents, and other content, that relate to the organization's processes." To paraphrase Frank, our goal in setting up an Alfresco instance is to do away with the use of email for collaboration other than for emergencies and for communications that you will never need again for the life of the project. Alfresco provides a central place for master documents (reports, manuscripts, grant applications), data, code, data dictionaries, discussions around topics, discussions around files, and more. It allows the statistician to efficiently analyze datasets on the server without copying the data to their local machine.

Company is headquartered in the United Kingdom. The Alfresco company's web site is at http://www.alfresco.com/.

We have a wiki topic for Alfresco notes and suggestions at http://biostat.mc.vanderbilt.edu/wiki/Main/AlfrescoNotes. Right now the topic is a mixture of implementation and management notes and user notes. I plan to make a couple of Alfresco topics and separate information appropriately.

(slide deck is at Repository> User Homes> daleplummer on Alfresco)

Alfresco documentation and videos

Alfresco's web site has a pretty good collection of documentation and videos about the software. There are a number of versions of the Alfresco software so watch out for content that is not applciable to our verison. We are running "Alfresco Community". You can find links to the documentation and videos at http://docs.alfresco.com/community/concepts/welcome-infocenter_community.html.


  • URL: http://biostats.mc.vanderbilt.edu:8080/share/
  • Alfresco Sample Sites
  • Log on
  • Credentials can be either vunetid/epassword or a username and password generated when you are invited to a site or someone sets up an account for you.
  • landing after login is personal dashboard
  • a dashboard contains a number of tool widgets that are called "dashlets" in Alfresco
  • typically, in our environment, we are working in a site. A site is a collection of all the files and other content for a particular project. You can think of a site as a project.
  • You may have been invited to a site. In that case you will have received an email with instructions on how to join that site. You may also just know about a site that you are interested in.
  • Search for the site you want. Once you visited a site you won't have to search for it again.
  • Click on the site wanted. might have to "join" or might already be a member of the site
  • You are dropped into the site's Dashboard. From the dashboard, I can see what is going on with the project. All the activities in the site are recorded and can be displayed. Dashboards can be configured many different ways. We'll look at that in a minute.
  • This site has a:
    • site profile
    • a dashlet for site data lists
    • web links associated with the project
    • Site Activities
    • Site Calendar

  • Let's look at the project library. It is sort of a file manager for the site. This is where documents and files are stored within folders.
    • There are a number of files that have already been uploaded to this site or project
    • can look at files already there (Images)
    • you can change the view to change the kind of information that is displayed about the contents
    • a related image (license) credentials for example
    • the Titans team picture - I see a preview of the image and on the right the list of actions I can take and meta data about the image
    • video
    • go to My Files, Repository for examples of other file types
    • documents
    • and so on...

  • lets create a new folder and upload some files
    • call it "design documents"
    • upload a new files to the new folder
    • files from flashdrive
    • show correlation comic
    • show obscure linux commands docx

  • Lets go back to the site dashboard
    • Since I manage this site I can Customize the dashboard
    • Change the layout
    • add or remove dashlets ("widgets")
    • example remove calendar
    • add site contents dashlet
    • Maybe that contents widget should be more visible! Move it to the top

  • Let's say I want to invite site participants
    • Can go to "Site Members" and click the "Invite People" button or click on the Person Plus icon
    • if the user already exists in Alfresco the use the "Search for People" part of the invitation form
    • If the user is already has an account one can search and then invite. Make sure that the user has an email address. It is needed to send the invitation.
    • if your invitee is not a member of the site and not a Vanderbilt person then use the "...Add External Users" section...
    • if the person has a vanderbilt vunetid/epassword credentials you can choose to let them use these credentials for logging on to Alfresco
      • Get them to log on FIRST to establish their Alfresco account. They should be sure to supply their email address.
      • then use the invite users dialog to invite them using their vunetid
    • an email will be sent to the address supplied that has a username and initial password and instructions for logging on and joining the site in question
  • Here is what an invitation email looks like...(it is in My Files)
  • Dialog for creating a site of your own... show a little dash board customization

Other ways to interact with the Alfresco repository

Mounting Alfresco repository just like any other shared folder

Linux Users: http://biostat.mc.vanderbilt.edu/wiki/Main/AlfrescoNotes#webdav

~WebDAV is a protocol that makes the Web a readable and writable medium. It allows users to users to create, change and move documents on a server; typically a web server or web share. It is basically a tool that allows one to mount a files share and use it as if it were a local directory.

Windows users: http://biostat.mc.vanderbilt.edu/wiki/pub/Main/AlfrescoNotes/mapalfrescoshare.pdf

Mac Users: ???

ftp: http://biostat.mc.vanderbilt.edu/wiki/Main/AlfrescoNotes#ftp

Mobile device apps

Other collaboration tools

Example share point site: https://profiles.vanderbilt.edu/personal/dalep/PSproject/SitePages/Home.aspx
Topic revision: r3 - 24 Sep 2014, DalePlummer

This site is powered by FoswikiCopyright © 2013-2022 by the contributing authors. All material on this collaboration platform is the property of the contributing authors.
Ideas, requests, problems regarding Vanderbilt Biostatistics Wiki? Send feedback