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Organising lost property

Lost-property office Magdeburger Verkehrsbetriebe (Municipal Transport Service Magdeburg)

There are many lost and forgotten items in trams, busses and other public transport in the city of Madgeburg. From school bags including content, mobile phones and clothes up to valuable objects everything is possible.

This means a lot of work for the Magdeburger Verkehrsbetriebe GmbH (MVB), since every item needs to be catalogued, stored and – if possible – returned to the owner. In the context of a DMS introduction, the idea was born to facilitate the management of the lost and found items via flexible configuration options with bitfarm-Archiv Document Management.

Analysis and planning

The ladies and gentlemen of the customer service department were quickly interviewed and a structure for archiving suggested. The lost and found items were to be photographed and the pictures then scanned into the Open Source DMS. The places of discovery, date and time, finder, object description, depot and retention period were to be registered. The DMS was then to generate a serial number under which the item was then stored physically.


This was said and done. With combined forces, made up of the transport service's EDP department and the bitfarm-Archiv Document Management consultant on site, the structure was quickly defined. A workflow with status information and evaluation option was configured at the same time. The allows the case-workers in the customer service to see, if an item's owner has been notified, in which cases an owner cannot be found and whether an item's auctioning or destruction is still pending or has already taken place.

Working with the DMS

The customer service can easily work with the DMS. Even the digital camera has been perfectly integrated as a “scanner” in the Manuscan program: start Manuscan and the corresponding form for lost items automatically opens itself. Click “register” and then either import images from the camera or press the camera's shutter release. If required, repeat this action. Finally, fill in the form.

The system includes required boxed and optional boxes to ensure that no piece of information is missed. Then click on “archive”. The system generates a new document number that is attached to the item as a sticker – DONE.


Even the non-EDP experts of the customer service said: This is very easy!. One could think the DMS was created exactly for this purpose. It was so easy to configure says Lutz Wuerpel, the Magdeburger Verkehrsbetriebe's administrator.

All in all, the realisation of the lost-property office's requirements is only a small, but interesting aspect of a complex DMS project. And, including user training, it did not take longer than 4 hours.

Magdeburger Verkehrsbetriebe (Municipal Transport Service Magdeburg)

The Magdeburger Verkehrsbetriebe GmbH (MVB) runs the bus and tram traffic in Magdeburg. 170 trams on nine lines are put to use on a 126.9 km of tracks (state 2004). In addition, 11 bus lines are run. The municipal transport services in Magdeburg belong to the city of Madgeburg and employ approximately 800 employees.