Every day of our lives, we create or
generate documents. They surround us in the workplace, and in
our homes. Yet few understand the basic concepts of managing
documents, especially using our computers. This introduction
will help you understand this topic and get some ideas of how to
manage your documents.
What Is Document Management?
Document management is defined as the “creation,
storage, organization, transmission, retrieval, manipulation,
update, and eventual
disposition of documents to fulfill an organizational purpose”.
These documents may have originally been in paper format such as
photographs or printed text and have been scanned and digitized
using a computer to make them electronically traceable. Document
management is related to digital asset management, document imaging
and optical character recognition (OCR).
Most commercial document management solutions
address the following situations:
- Location –
Where will documents be stored?
- Filing – How
will documents be indexed and filed away?
- Retrieval –
How will documents be found? This encompasses browsing through
documents and search for specific documents.
- Security – How
will documents be kept out of the hands of unauthorized users?
Recovery – How can documents be recovered in case of disasters,
natural or otherwise?
- Retention –
How long are documents kept on file before they are deleted or
- Archiving –
How can documents that have been removed from active repositories
be preserved in a separate area?
- Distribution –
How can documents be made available to the people that need them?
- Workflow – If
documents pass through multiple parties, what are the rules for
- Creation – How
are documents created and how is version control implemented?
Authentication/Approval – How does the system ensure that
documents are original and meet the standards for authentication
Products like the HP Scanjet N7710 Sheetfed/Flatbed
Document Scanner are ideal for in-house document management.
Document Scanning Services
Companies may accumulate so many non-electronic
documents that they may reach a point where retrieving vital
documents becomes a tedious task that cam result in wasted time and
money. Bulky boxes of documents are also very expensive to store,
especially in prime office buildings where space could be much
better utilized by housing staff. Deterioration and constant
handling will also damage documents and lead to information loss.
The obvious solution to these problems is to digitize all the
documents and file them away into a document management system for
easy retrieval. Some companies that offer commercial document
management solutions also offer document scanning services. This can
be a very valuable service to many companies as they may not have
the resources or manpower to scan and index documents in large
volumes. Documents are not always simply converted to images. Most
document scanning services also use optical character recognition
software to convert digital images to machine readable text. This
will later allow for searching within documents.
Along with commercial document management
software, some companies offer other solutions related to document
management. One of these services is archiving. Companies don’t
always have the capacity to archive all their data that is no longer
in their active repository. They may want to move data that is no
longer used out of their existing system to reduce search times, but
at the same time keep the unused data in an easily accessible
archive for future use. The solution to this is a document
management service that archives the company’s data in such a way
that it can be easily retrieved in the future. The obvious benefits
to this are that the size of the active database is reduced,
reducing the time it takes the retrieve active and relevant data.
The inactive data is archived in a different location where the
company can later access it when needed. Document management
services usually provide their clients with tools that let them
easily access archived data. An example of this is a web based
interface that lets the company remotely access their archived data
through the use of a web browser.
Archiving on recordable DVDs is a very practical
to maintain and manage documents locally.
Electronic Data Management Services (EDMS) can be
a very valuable asset to large companies that need to streamline the
way they handle documents. By using EDMS, companies can cut down on
the time it takes to retrieve important documents and cut down on
the space required to archive boxes of documents, saving them time
Staff Technology Writer