BoxOfDocs is a robust collection of publicly available and privately produced municipal policies, practices and support documents from leading municipal governments across Canada.
BoxOfDocs uses advanced technologies to collect sort and organize municipal documents so that you find what you need faster. This means that when you use BoxOfDocs you save time on repetitive tasks so that you can focus on higher priority goals.
We use machine learning (artificial intelligence) to visit municipal websites and acquire public content. From there, we cleanse and organize the information that we’ve gathered and re-visit regularly to ensure that our database is the most up to date source of information available.
- The usual course of action is to go from website to website (usually to those that you know from your region) by using an internet search engine to find the documents that you need in order to get the job done. Even if you know the municipalities that you want to compare, you may struggle to find what you are looking for because every municipal website is unique – just like the towns and cities that they serve. So, whether you notice it or not, you probably spend at least 20 to 60 minutes just to arrive at a handful of documents that you think are worth looking at.
- Another way of getting information from your industry peers is to reach out more directly by means of phone or email to request whether your civic neighbour has a certain type of document. This can waste not only your time (because you are often waiting for a response for several days after your request), but also the time of your peer organization that spends their time looking for what you requested. This has been an accepted practice for years, but now more than ever, the time that it takes to help your neighbour weighs on your organization even if you know that one day the favour will be returned.
- Document libraries organized through your professional associations. Professional associations have tried to solve this problem in a similar way in the past. Several have taken it upon themselves to collect a document library similar to BoxOfDocs, but with one major difference – without the help of advanced technology. This means that an under-staffed professional association starts to build a collection of documents. They may manage to start the process, but doing this by hand is unsustainable and eventually the documents go stale and the library loses value.
- To work around this challenge, associations may instead choose to act as a hub for receiving email requests for information by gathering these and sending them back to their members. The all too common result is either limited or no responses or the “reply all” that includes “I don’t have that type of document, but if you find one, please send it to me.” While this does serve an important purpose of connecting to association members, it rarely ends up helping members enough to make a real difference.
- A combination of all the above. If you decide to use all of above ways to get the best results you may be successful, but most likely after you have totalled-up all of the time that you spent trying to get the best documents you would discover that (in many cases) you lost up to 80% of the time that you could have saved by using BoxOfDocs’ uniquely efficient Search, Filter, Sort approach to finding information faster.
BoxOfDocs can help you streamline your document research by putting the most relevant and up to date documents in your hands in seconds, rather than hours. That means that you can spend more time doing high level research to decide how you want to create or update your documents instead of being stuck on the frustrating and tedious journey of finding something close to what you really wanted.
Organizations that use BoxOfDocs have more time to do improved work, but they also have more time to focus on their other priorities. This means that they can accomplish more than their peers, not to mention how they are perceived by elected officials and the public that they serve.
Staff that work for organizations that use BoxOfDocs also have a greater sense of relief because they may have been able to eliminate repetitive tasks and are able to spend more time on truly meaningful parts of their work.
When organizations are operating more efficiently, they may see less pressure on their time and money (budget). This can lead to staff that can be freed up to do additional tasks that help you achieve more of your goals and priorities in a shorter timeframe.
In other cases, this means that there is a real cost savings that can be translated back to the budget, without sacrificing results.
BoxOfDocs works within your current browser window (we recommend the latest version of Google Chrome).
We recommend that you set a bookmark or include a tab in your browser window to connect you to BoxOfDocs and directly to the document library so that you can have the fastest access possible.
Once you are in the document library you are connected and ready to search, filter and sort with precision. Enjoy, it’s easy.
More than likely, YES! Since we save you time, you might just feel a sense of relief and it may just put you in a better headspace than before. Of course, we can only say this about the time that you spend using BoxOfDocs, not those other stressors that you may have in your life.
If you believe in the idea that reducing stress helps you with work-life balance – YES! We hope that we will become a part of your healthy lifestyle goals. The common response we have received from our users is that it has given them back more time to do the things that they enjoy (that aren’t work related).
Indubitably. Perhaps they would never admit this, but there’s a good chance that doing more and better-quality work will look good on you and your organization. Will they be jealous? It’s more than likely.
If you haven’t tried BoxOfDocs you may think that it’s “just another search engine” but as our members have said time and time again, you may not truly appreciate the difference until you have tried them both.
We love to show our members how BoxOfDocs is different.
It starts with the number of search results; using the same municipal search term with a regular search engine can produce over 50 million results. The top of the results are paid advertisements (that on first glance look like they are legitimate responses, however, they paid to be there). As you look down the list you are left with endless sifting, comparable to finding a needle in the haystack.
When it comes to BoxOfDocs, using our 1) search 2) filter 3) sort technology means that you are just clicks away from finding the most relevant, narrowed down set of search responses. Instead of 50 million results, you may only have 30, with the ability to refine even further by using filters like population, location and document type, all without having the clutter of advertising mixed-in with your results.
While it may not sound like a big deal – the reality is that you will have saved hours of effort that you can put to better use. We don’t like wasting time, and we know our clients don’t either.
BoxOfDocs’ search, filter & sort approach to finding documents means that you have more control over the quality and number of results that you see. This means that you will have fewer results, but those results will be truly meaningful and useful to the work that you are doing right now!
No. We allow our members to pay on a sliding scale based on population. This way we feel that smaller municipalities are given a break on the price because they will naturally have fewer users.
Alternatively, larger municipalities pay more because they will have more active users in the system. BoxOfDocs can be used by very small municipalities (in some cases with 1-3 employees) to very large municipalities, across many departments. There’s no seat limit, unless you choose to set a seat limit for your own organization.
Our pricing information can be found on our website under ‘Become a Member’.
No. Our current Premium membership includes all the features and benefits that we have built within the current offering. Of course, we are working with our members to identify future add-ins and improvements that will make BoxOfDocs even better. It’s possible that we may uncover another game-changing approach to how we do things but rest easy, you won’t be charged anything more than what you signed-up for. When the time comes to offer clients more, we will always give the option to try before you buy so that you can decide whether new features suit your plans. We will keep you posted.
The number of your staff that use BoxOfDocs is up to you. We think that giving more staff access is a great way to help your entire organization be more efficient, but the choice is yours. We do not cap the number of users because we want BoxOfDocs to be your go-to for search, filter & sort capabilities.
The search function works like almost any other search engine, with one exception – it’s industry specific. You won’t find advertising or millions of results, just municipal documents without the clutter.
When you search, filter & sort, you eliminate an incredible number of irrelevant results. We cannot guarantee that you will not come across a document here or there that doesn’t match your expectations, however, we do know that as our technology continues to improve so will your results.
BoxOfDocs Premium members have an all access pass to the documents and features that eliminate the overwhelming frustrations that come with searching the web for solutions that fit your organization today.
From a features perspective this means that you have access to:
- Quick searches – one-click searches of specific document types and categories.
- Peer searches – when you just want to see what is happening in the towns and cities that you most frequently want to know about
- Saved search history – so you can keep a record of the work that you’ve done before and refer to it without having to start from scratch.
- Access to the entire BoxOfDocs data set, which is growing everyday.
- Part of a community with monthly tips and updates.
After you have completed a Premium Trial and decide for whatever reason you don’t want to continue to use Premium, you (and your team) will be automatically converted to a Basic Membership.
BoxOfDocs Basic members have limited access to the best of BoxOfDocs Premium features, just enough to give you a small taste of how efficient our search, filter and sort features can be.
A few differences between Basic and Premium memberships include:
- Access is limited to only about 10% of Premium BoxOfDocs content and many of the time-saving features like Quick Searches, Peer Searches and saved history.
You will continue to be part of the BoxOfdocs community with monthly tips and updates.
Simple search relies on keyword entry that typically produces millions of results and is combined with paid advertising. Simple search can work well if you know exactly what you are looking for and do not need the precision of filtering your results so that you have more relevant results.
When you can add a filter by geography, population, peer groups and document types, you are able to quickly limit results while also increasing the quality of those results.
When you add an additional sort function to results that are already filtered, the quality of your results improves even more. The end product is the best quality documents in a nice tight package, rather than a big mound of results that will take forever to even get a sense that you are on the right track.
BoxOfDocs has easy-to-meet minimum requirements. We recommend that you are using Windows X* with Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, or Safari IOS X* with the latest browser version to ensure the best possible experience.
While we know that some of our users may be using other browsers or versions of those browsers, we can’t guarantee that you will have the same high-quality experience using older browsers/versions. If you find yourself seeing a spinning wheel or hourglass, it’s usually a sign that it is time to upgrade your browser.
BOD is an online web platform that works on all web browsers such as Chrome, Internet Explorer, Firefox, and Safari. We support Windows, Apple and Android operating systems.
Our servers are secure and cloud-hosted in multiple locations to guarantee that you will be up and running 99.8% of the time.
We guarantee that you will have high-quality, member-supported content. If you are not satisfied with any aspect of the services that we offer, we invite you to chat with us to resolve any concern within two business days from the date of contact.
Click: The in app “ask a question” icon to connect with us right away.
That depends. Our document count grows as we add additional resources to expand the number of documents in our Premium database. When all hands are on-deck, we add thousands of documents each week and as we build on our resources, that number will continue to grow by leaps and bounds. We expect to have hundreds of thousands of documents available to our members by the end of 2019.
Our current document count can be seen on our main website page.
If you see a “spinning wheel” or an hourglass that won’t stop turning, there’s a good chance that you are using an older browser version. The easiest way (if your enterprise IT staff have you locked-in to an old version) is to get the latest version of Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, or Safari (for IOS).
If this doesn’t resolve your issue, contact us and we will walk you through your issue towards a better experience.
An individual membership includes all the features of a premium membership with the exception of access to private documents (offline documents that we acquire from municipalities through data sharing agreements that we have in place). This ensures that data is protected, as agreed upon with our partners and as required under access to information legislation.
All publicly available documents are included in individual memberships, but some proprietary documents may not be accessible.
Yes. One of the great things about sharing both publicly available documents and private documents is that it may help you to meet your open data sharing goals as an organization.
Many municipalities are working diligently to provide open data sets to the public (and their municipal colleagues around the world) so that they can save the time and energy that it takes to send information manually via email or using other means (yes – even hard copies believe it or not).
At BoxOfDocs we want to make the business of sharing information easy. We would love to work with you to share a Dropbox, Google Drive, or One Drive cloud link, or any other ways that are easy for you to contribute.
Another great thing about sharing with BoxOfDocs is that once you have shared, your data is revisited regularly and kept current. Likewise, as a member of the BoxOfDocs community you do not have to maintain data sets from data that you have collected from other sources in the past. BoxOfDocs gives you a simple and easy to navigate platform. It has even been told to us that clients would love to use BoxOfDocs just for their own internal documents because it would be easier and more efficient than what they currently have in place.
Talk to us about how we can save the time that it takes for you to share your documents with others, while you gain the advantage of seeing what everyonw else is up to at the same time as a BoxOfDocs Premium member.
That’s up to you. Publicly facing documents are currently the easiest to share.
Once we have your permission to load your publicly facing documents (you need to give us consent), we can also have a conversation about connecting to other documents that would help your fellow BoxOfDocs Members.
After that, we can schedule regular visits back to your website (using machine learning) to see if your documents have changed. If they have, we replace what was previously in our collection with the most current/relevant documents that you have available. If you haven’t updated your documents on your website in awhile, nothing will change on our end.
We recommend contacting us so that we can find out more about cloud services that you have access to and the easiest ways to get a hold of the documents that will help your peers without having to take the time to connect directly with them. Google Drive, Microsoft One Drive and Dropbox are a few that you may use. We are happy to help so feel free to contact us!
Once you are logged-in to your BoxOfDocs Administrator account (make sure that you are the administrator, if not talk to your administrator. We recommend having at least two administrators so that you can always have somebody available to add new members to your account).
Click on the “Accounts” menu and choose the red “new account” button.
Once you have clicked on the button, you will be prompted to add the new user’s details (which also allows you to select the type of user (user or administrator).
Watch our “Add a municipal account user” video under Resources>Training Videos.
Yes. As mentioned, we recommend that you have at least two administrators so that you have a back-up in case one of you is not available at some time in the future. You can add as many administrators as you would like.
Administrators are responsible for setting-up the user accounts of the users within your organization by designating the role of the user (User or Administrator), the email address of the user and username of the user.
Administrators control the level of access of users and can change access levels if, or when changes must be made. Pretty standard stuff.