MLS Audit Log or change log

Discussions around using and interfacing with the Church MLS program.
forslice
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MLS Audit Log or change log

Postby forslice » Wed Dec 22, 2010 7:33 am

I have been looking around for a couple hours now and i haven't found any reference to this request, so if it's a dup, i apologize.

I am the ward clerk and a feature i would like to see implemented in MLS is a digital audit log of all changes made. For example, if a phone number is changed, i would like to see the old phone number, the new phone number, the type of phone number (household or individual) member name, and the person in MLS who made the change.

I would also like this log to include printouts of all send and receive changes and have it be searchable. This would save me tremendous amounts of time when there is a problem between paper records and MLS records so i could track changes. This would also help me see what changes have been made by my membership clerks and members of the bishopric so that we can always have the most accurate records with as little administrative overhead as possible.

This could be a selectable option that could replace all of the printing with each send receive or just supplement it. This would also be a very "green" feature as well as a huge financial savings (I go through a ream of paper every month or so just from MLS changes). Having data in a binder is nice, but the data is incomplete in my opinion as it isn't historical and doesn't show who made these changes.

From a technical standpoint, being a former database administrator, MLS likely already knows all of this information, this would simply write it somewhere rather than discarding it once the DB transaction is complete. This would account for quite a bit of data on the local machine, and would have to be stored locally, and not sent to HQ, and maybe make it an optional component of an MLS backup due to it's size.

Other possibilities include making it an xml or html file and view it outside of MLS (but require a password when the file is created. This would prevent you from integrating it with the GUI of MLS.

This would save a lot of administrative overhead in units where literally hundreds of transactions are made in a month and save a lot of resources. Thanks!

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aebrown
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Postby aebrown » Wed Dec 22, 2010 9:28 am

forslice wrote:I am the ward clerk and a feature i would like to see implemented in MLS is a digital audit log of all changes made. For example, if a phone number is changed, i would like to see the old phone number, the new phone number, the type of phone number (household or individual) member name, and the person in MLS who made the change.
...
From a technical standpoint, being a former database administrator, MLS likely already knows all of this information, this would simply write it somewhere rather than discarding it once the DB transaction is complete. This would account for quite a bit of data on the local machine, and would have to be stored locally, and not sent to HQ, and maybe make it an optional component of an MLS backup due to it's size.

Other possibilities include making it an xml or html file and view it outside of MLS (but require a password when the file is created. This would prevent you from integrating it with the GUI of MLS.


I've often wished for this as well. But aside from the issues of size, there are also significant challenges in the security realm. Who would get to see this log? The log might indicate that I made an adjustment to that one member's tithing donation, or that a disciplinary action report was created for another member, etc. MLS secures access to these various areas in the program, but a single log file would include all sorts of transactions that only an administrator would likely have rights to see. Those issues could be worked out, of course, but it's not as simple as having MLS "simply write it somewhere rather than discarding it once the DB transaction is complete."

However, even if it's not simple, the idea does have merit -- I've often seen something odd in the records and wondered how that came to be. Knowing who made the change and when would be very helpful on occasion.
Questions that can benefit the larger community should be asked in a public forum, not a private message.

forslice
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Postby forslice » Tue Dec 28, 2010 10:06 am

I agree that while the exact details need to be worked out, i feel something can be done.

From a security standpoint, i think only those with "admin" rights in MLS should have access. In most cases they are the only ones that would need to access this info.

Maybe having it keep audit logs of confidential matters such as church discipline would not be appropriate and should be excluded, especially since the ward clerk and the bishop are likely the only people that would be making any changes here, the logs would be less critical anyway.

What is the process like to actually turn this into a formal request for adding this as a new feature in MLS?

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aebrown
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Postby aebrown » Tue Dec 28, 2010 10:13 am

forslice wrote:What is the process like to actually turn this into a formal request for adding this as a new feature in MLS?


You can always pass suggestions on to Local Unit Support, via email or an MLS message.
Questions that can benefit the larger community should be asked in a public forum, not a private message.


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