Guide Management Overview - Digital Onesource Consulting

Digital Onesource
C o n su l t i n g S o l u t i o n s
Document Management Overview
I. Introduction: Streamlining Business Processes through Document Management …………......
Benefits of Document and Records Management...........................................................................
II. Document and Records Management Defined..............................................................................
Document Management...................................................................................................................
1. Capture, or the Ability to Import Different Types of Documents............................................
2. Storage and Archiving That Allow for Growth and Change.....................................................
3. Indexing and Retrieval, or the Ability to Find What You Want When You Want It................
4. Distribution, or Putting Information in the Hands of the Right People...............................
5. Security, or the Ability to Protect Your Documents from Loss and Tampering...................
Records Management, or Documenting Business Activity.............................................................
III. Essential Components of Document Management Solutions....................................................
Storage and Archiving......................................................................................................................
Distribution....................................................................................................................................... 14
Technical Considerations.................................................................................................................
Records Management Applications.................................................................................................
IV. Implementation: Addressing Your Business Needs........................................................................... 21
Records Management Considerations........................................................................................................ 22
Scaling from Pilot Project to an Organization-wide Solution......................................................... 22
Training....................................................................................................................................................... 22
Support and Maintenance................................................................................................................
Outsourcing Scanning......................................................................................................................
Compliance and Legal Issues..........................................................................................................
V. Frequently asked Questions..................................................................................................................... 26
General ............................................................................................................................................................. 27
Capture ............................................................................................................................................................. 28
Indexing ............................................................................................................................................................ 29
Viewing/Printing/Exporting .............................................................................................................................. 31
Records Management ...................................................................................................................................... 31
COLD (Computer Output to Laser Disc) ............................................................................................................ 32
VI. Glossary of Terms..................................................................................................................................... 33
I. Introduction:
Streamlining Business Processes through Document Management
I’ve done searches that would have taken me probably three or four working days, and I found the
information in about 10 minutes. Our archives are historical treasures which is one of the reasons we did
this, because people use them for research and the records were wearing out. So we wanted to store the
original materials away and not risk damaging them anymore.
records management systems. Explanations of the
basics of document and records management
systems follow. Specific system components crucial
for improving business processes are then detailed.
The key elements for successful implementation of
a document management system are discussed in
the next chapter. Frequently asked questions and a
glossary of terms related to document imaging,
document management and records management
are located at the end of the guide.
Streamlining business processes and increasing
productivity are fundamental concerns for any
organization whether private, public and non-profit
alike. In an increasingly strict regulatory
environment, managing documents and records
diverts significant time from an organization's
mission-critical objectives.
Document and records management software has
many benefits that can appreciably improve
organizational efficiency. Since these applications
are complex systems that represent a solid
investment, organizations should carefully evaluate
their current and future needs beforehand.
Benefits of Document
Document management systems are software
applications that capture paper and electronic
documents and provide the storage, retrieval,
security and archiving of those documents. Records
management is a specialized discipline. In
particular, it is a set of recognized practices related
to the life cycle of records information that serves
as evidence of the business activities of an
We are distributing this guide to give organizations
management systems and on the demands of
Digital Onesource Consulting Solutions provides
this work as an educational resource. It results from
our nearly twenty years of experience , helping
customers solve their business problems and
represents our commitment to educating
organizations and individual users about the
technology of document management. This guide is
divided into parts that clarify different aspects of
document management. The introduction outlines
the broad business benefits of document and
The document management process begins with
the conversion of paper documents and records to
electronic files. Digitizing eliminates the many
obstacles created by paper based labor-intensive
misplaced originals and the inconvenience of
retrieving files from remote locations. Because
paper files are also costly to process, duplicate,
distribute and store, digitizing reduces operating
expenses and overhead.
records policies and reduces the cost of regulatory
Document management applications enable more
efficient distribution of and control over
information, files and records throughout the
organization. These software programs simplify
business processes by automating repetitive
procedures, document routing and email
notification. Document management systems
expedite business processes by allowing instant
access to information; greater collaboration within
and among departments and offices; enhanced
security for files and records; and the application of
procedures that facilitate compliance with recordkeeping requirements imposed by the SEC, NA SD,
HIPA A , Sarbanes-Oxley and others.
Records management software provides:
Improved efficiency in the storage,
retention and disposition of records and
record series.
II. Document and Records Management Defined
Document management makes it possible to:
Manage millions of documents and
retrieve the right one in seconds.
Share documents with colleagues while
protecting confidential information.
E-mail and fax files instantly.
Access documents while traveling.
Publish documents to CD, DV D or the Web,
as appropriate.
Back up files and records for disaster
Detailed reports of which records are
eligible for transfer, accession or
destruction. Audit trails to track all system
activity and the entire life cycle of records.
Document Management
Document management begins with the conversion
of paper or other documents into digitized images.
These images can be easily organized and quickly
retrieved, indexed and archived. When files are
scanned or electronically converted, a highresolution digital copy is stored on a hard drive or
Records management systems simplify the lifecycle management of business records. A records
management system supports the automatic
enforcement of consistent, organization-wide
There are three primary methods of bringing files
optical disc. Templates, or electronic index cards,
can attach information, such as author, reference
number, date created, or key words to a document.
Files can still be viewed, printed, shared and stored.
Which documents people can read and what
actions they can perform on these documents
depend on the level of security that the system
administrator has assigned to the user.
into a document management system:
A. Scanning or imaging, for paper files
B. Importing, for archiving electronic
documents such as word processing
files, spreadsheets, faxes, audio and
C. Conversion, for creating unalterable
images of electronic documents
All document management systems should have
five basic components:
A. Scanning
Capture for bringing documents into the
Methods for storing and archiving
Indexing and retrieval tools to locate
Distribution for exporting documents from
the system
Security to protect documents from
unauthorized access
Scanning a document produces a raster (picture)
image that can be stored on a computer. When you
choose a scanner, it is important to consider the
size and volume of paper to be scanned, along with
price and overall budget. The ability to support a
wide range of scanners is one of the defining
characteristics of
management system.
Digital document management represents a
significant advance over storing information on
paper. No longer just ink on a page, the document
becomes active content after being processed by
Optical Character Recognition (OCR) technology. A
document management system should offer
effective search tools for document retrieval,
including full-text search, index field searches and a
visual filing scheme that permits users to browse for
A scanner should have an Automatic Document
Feeder (ADF). The ADF speeds up the scanning
process by allowing stacks of paper to be placed into
a tray and automatically fed one page at a time into
the scanner. Scanners without an ADF require each
page to be manually placed in the scanner; they are
designed primarily for imaging graphics.
Scanners can handle a variety of paper sizes, from
business cards to engineering drawings. Most
departments only need to scan documents up to
legal-size paper (81/2-inch x 14inch). For
organizations or departments that use blueprints,
building plans and architectural drawings, there are
large-format scanners that support E-size (34-inch x
44-inch) documents. In general, the larger the paper
size the scanner can handle, the more expensive it is.
Other options, such as color or grayscale, also
increase the scanner's price.
Following is a description of the five basic
components to look for when choosing your
1. Capture, or the Ability to
Import Different Types of
The speed of the scanner is another consideration.
Document imaging scanners can handle between 10
and 200 pages per minute. These are available in
both simplex mode and duplex mode. Duplex
scanners allow both sides of a two-sided document
to be scanned in a single pass. High-speed scanning
and duplex scanning can increase the price of the
scanner. In some instances, it is more economical to
purchase two 20-page-per-minute scanners than one
40-page-per-minute scanner. However, the
two-scanner option is only supported by document
management systems that support multiple scan
Microsoft Word, Excel or Autodesk AutoCAD, can
print existing files into an unalterable image of the
document. These images are usually stored as
archival quality TIFF (Tagged Image File Format).
For documents, the conversion process also pulls a
clean stream of text directly from the document,
eliminating the need for OCR. This text file can then
be used for full-text indexing of the document to
assist with later retrieval. Converting electronic
documents bypasses scanning, saves paper and
printer ink and produces a cleaner image than
scanned paper files. The document management
system should be integrated with Microsoft Office
or other applications to permit users to convert
documents with maximum ease. This method of
imaging electronic documents is best suited for
permanent archives. TIFF Files will generate the
smallest file size while Color PDF’s will provide the
greatest file size and require more storage capacity.
Copier MFP Scanning: If your volume is low to
midrange, you can also use your MFP Copier to
provide document scanning. Copier Automatic
Document Feeders were not designed for high
volume scanning and a dedicated scanner will work
much better in this environment.
2. Storage and Archiving That Allow
for Growth and Change
B. Importing
Document importing is the process of bringing
electronic files, such as Microsoft® Office suite
documents, graphics, audio clips or video files, into
a document management system. Files can be
dragged, printed, or use a network hot folder to be
monitored to send the documents into a document
management system and remain in their native
formats. These files can be viewed in their original
format by either launching the originating
application or by using an embedded file viewer
from within the document management system.
Once brought into the system, documents must be
reliably stored. Document management storage
systems must be able to accommodate changing
technologies and an organization's future growth.
Hardware independence is critical to assuring that a
document management system will meet all of your
current and future needs. A versatile document
management system should be compatible with all
storage devices currently available – as well as those
on the horizon – to provide long-term document
storage or archival.
C. Conversion
To ensure the future readability of documents, a
document management system should store files in
a non-proprietary format, such as TIFF or ASCII.
Storing document images or text files in a
proprietary format may leave your organization
dependent on the future success or failure of another
Converting documents is the process of transforming
electronic files, such as word processor or
raster-image format for storage within a document
management system. Windows applications, such as
Currently, there are five primary storage options:
diskette can store 1.44 megabytes (MB) of data, an
MO diskette can store many times that amount,
ranging from 100 MB up to several gigabytes (GB).
• Magnetic Media (Hard Drives)
• Magneto-Optical Storage
The chief assets of MO drives include convenience,
modest cost, reliability and, for some models,
widespread availability approaching industry
standardization. MO disks can be placed in
jukeboxes that hold hundreds of disks. The chief
limitation of MO drives is that they are slower than
hard disk drives and still subject to mechanical
failure. Data files can also be completely erased.
With the drop in the price of hard drives, the
popularity of magneto-optical storage has faded.
• Compact Discs
• DVDs
The advantages and drawbacks of each are described
Magnetic Media (Hard Drives)
Increasingly fast response times to store and retrieve
a document, along with dramatic reductions in
storage prices, make magnetic media a popular
choice. These systems include Redundant Array of
Independent Disks (RAID), Network Attached
Storage (NAS) and Storage Area Networks (SAN).
These devices are relatively inexpensive, can be
linked together to store large numbers of documents
and provide fast response times.
Compact Discs
Compact discs (CDs) are small discs used to store
digital information. Since nothing touches the
encoded portion of the disc, the CD is not worn out
by the playing process. Standard CD formats include
CD-ROM (Compact Disc-Read Only Memory), a
preprinted media format; CD-R (CD
Recordable), a single-use recordable disc; and
CD-RW (CD Rewritable), a multi-use recordable
The main drawback of magnetic media is that, while
inexpensive, they still contain moving parts, which
are subject to mechanical failure. Data files can also
be completely erased. Computer personnel should
perform regular backups of hard drives so that if data
is erased or damaged, it can be restored.
CDs offer a safe and reliable medium that can
provide long-term storage for images. Moreover,
CD-ROMs do not require specialized hardware or
software to retrieve information. CDs use ISO-9600
specifications; this means the data can be read on
many computer platforms. The primary drawback of
this medium is its limited storage capacity, 650 MB.
CD-ROMs can be accessed through CDROM drives,
CD towers and jukeboxes of up to 500 discs, making
it a convenient method of storing large numbers of
imaged documents.
Magneto-Optical Storage
In the past, the magneto-optical (MO) diskette/disk
drive was a popular way to back up files on a
personal computer. As the term implies, an MO
device employs both magnetic and optical
technologies to obtain ultrahigh data density. A
typical MO cartridge is slightly larger than a
conventional 3.5-inch magnetic diskette and looks
similar. But, while the older type of magnetic
DVD, which stands for Digital Video Disc or Digital
Versatile Disc, is another form of optical disc
storage technology. It is essentially a faster CD that
can hold more information, including video, audio
and computer data. DVD aims to encompass home
entertainment, computers and business information
within a single digital format, eventually replacing
audio CD, videotape, laser disc, CD-ROM and even
video game cartridges. DVD has unprecedented,
widespread support from all major electronics
companies, all major computer hardware companies
and about half of the major movie and music studios.
this general sense, WORM includes more common
storage media such as CDs and DVDs.
3. Indexing and Retrieval, or the
Ability to Find What You Want
When You Want It
A full featured document management system
makes retrieval of relevant documents fast, easy and
efficient, and offers multiple methods of indexing,
or categorizing, information. Indexing allows users
to quickly sort large volumes of data to find the right
document. Whatever the combination of indexing
methodologies, search methods need to be easily
used and understood by the people who retrieve the
documents, as well as those who file them.
Since the disc is read by a beam of laser light, there
is no wear and tear, even if it keeps rereading the
same data. The tough plastic surface is forgiving of
fingerprints, dust and dirt. This means DVDs can be
played thousands of times and continue to represent
the best long-term option for reliable document
management storage. The drawbacks of this medium
are its high costs and an ongoing standards battle at
time of publication, as different manufacturers are
using different formats for rewritable DVDs.
There are three primary ways of indexing files in a
document management system:
• Full text indexing, or indexing every word
contained within a document
• Index fields, or indexing through keyword
categories of documents
WORM, which stands for Write Once, Read Many,
is an optical disc technology that allows you to write
data onto a disk just once. The data is permanent and
can be read any number of times. This format is not
readily available and requires specialized hardware
and software to operate. Unlike CD-ROM, there is
no single standard for WORM disks, which means
that they can only be read by the same type of drive
that wrote them. This has hampered their
acceptance, although they have found a niche market
as an archival medium.
• Folder/file structure, or indexing by associated
document groups
Retrieval is where the quality of the indexing system
is most evident. Some document management
systems let users search only by indexed keywords,
which requires a person to know how the document
was categorized and what index fields were assigned
to it. A powerful indexing system will make it
possible for users to find any document based on
what they know, even if that amounts to no more
than a word or phrase within the document. The
more a document management system adapts to an
organization's existing procedures, the less upheaval
and training are involved for users of the system and
While this standard definition of WORM refers to a
specific type of storage technology, WORM has
taken on a broader meaning in other contexts, such
as financial services, to include any optical disc that
is, in practice, a write-once-read-many medium. In
the greater the likelihood the system will be used on
a regular basis.
where the person who selected the keywords is not
the one searching for files, this method has obvious
Full Text Indexing
A document management system should allow users
to customize index templates, create multiple
templates and support different types of index field
data within each template, such as date, number and
alphanumeric characters. Index fields can be used to
categorize documents, track creation or retention
dates, or record subject matter, among other
information. A document management system
should enable pull-down boxes of common key
words to speed index field entry and have tools
available to help automate entering index
Full text indexing allows users to locate any word or
phrase that appears in the document. By providing
full text indexing, document management systems
can eliminate the need to read and manually index
documents using keywords.
To enable full text indexing, the software must have
the capability to perform Optical Character
Recognition (OCR). The OCR process translates
printed words into alphanumeric characters with
near perfect accuracy, enabling each occurrence of a
word to be tracked by the application. OCR
dramatically reduces the cost of manual indexing
while providing improved search capabilities.
Folder/File Structure
However, OCR cannot process handwriting or
images. Moreover, when a computer performs OCR
on a document, it typically uses English as the
default alphabet. If multiple languages are required,
the document management system should support
OCR and full text searches in these languages. To
avoid creating extra work, a well-designed
document management system should provide the
ability to automate the OCR and full text index
processing of documents.
Along with enabling full text and index field
searches, a document management system should
enable users to locate documents by browsing. A full
featured document management system lets an
organization electronically recreate its existing filing
system through a nested folder structure. A flexible
folder structure eases the transition from paper filing
to electronic filing, which makes the transition to
document management systems smoother.
Index Fields
4. Distribution, or Putting
Information in the Hands of the
Right People
Index field searches enable users to comb through
millions of records in seconds to find necessary
documents. The ability to use index field
information to locate documents is important in
cases where a topic search is more expedient than
finding every occurrence of a particular word or
where the database contains images without printed
text (as in the example of photographs or maps). A
full featured document management system will
have user definable template fields. In situations
A document management system should make it
possible for multiple users to access the same files at
the same time and for documents to be distributed to
authorized individuals within and outside of an
organization over an intranet, by e-mail, or through
publication to the Web, CD or DVD. A full featured
document management system safeguards an
unalterable copy of the original while allowing you
to enhance collaboration and service by circulating
copies in the format that best serves your business
Records Management, or
Documenting Business Activity
Records management is a specialized branch of
document management that deals with information
serving as evidence of an organization's business
activities. In particular, it is a set of recognized
practices related to the life cycle of that information.
Most often, records refer to documents, but they can
include other forms of information, such as
photographs, blueprints, or even books. Records
management requires the application of systematic
controls to the creation, maintenance and destruction
of an organization's records.
When system administrators decide to deploy a
document management system across their entire
network through an intranet, or even to the public
over the Internet, they should make it possible for
users to search, retrieve and view documents with
any Web browser. Browser based document access
removes the logistical problems associated with
computer platform (Windows, Macintosh, Unix,
The fundamental concept behind records
management is the idea of the life cycle of the
record. Life cycle refers to the stages that every
official business record must undergo. After a record
has been created, it must be filed according to a
defined, logical scheme into a managed repository
where it will be available for retrieval by authorized
users. When the information contained in records no
longer has any immediate value, the record is
removed from active accessibility. Depending on the
nature of the record, it is either retained, transferred,
archived, or destroyed.
5. Security, or the Ability to Protect
Your Documents from Loss and
System security is an absolute necessity for any
document management system. A rigorous security
system should permit every authorized person to
perform required duties – whether from desktop,
laptop, the office, a remote location or over the Web
– without compromising the integrity of the
database, system or network.
Records management applications should facilitate
the inventory of records and the application of
consistent records policies. Records management
applications must protect records from loss and
tampering, while allowing the records manager and
other decision makers access to necessary
A full-featured document management system gives
the system administrator the tools to balance access
and security through control over both access rights
and feature rights. Access rights determine who can
log on to the system and which folders or files
individuals can open. Feature rights determine the
actions that individuals can perform on documents
to which they have access. A comprehensive
security system also allows high-level users to redact
or black out confidential information within files.
DoD 5015.2 Standard
The Department of Defense (DoD) 5015.2 standard
represents the mandatory minimum functional
requirements for records management applications
used by the Department of Defense agency. While
records management applications that have been
certified as DoD 5015.2 compliant represent an
objective, third-party evaluation, they do not
guarantee regulatory compliance or records security.
Details regarding this standard are further described
in the next section, under records management
III. Essential Components of Document
Management Solutions
Although all document management systems
provide the basics of scanning, retrieval and display,
when it comes to implementing a document
management solution in the real world, system
essentials extend far beyond the minimum basics.
Document management systems designed for
multiple users, a high volume of documents, or
multiple office locations must meet more stringent
requirements. This section explains what to look for
when selecting a document management system for
your organization.
For a document management system to enhance
business operations, it must accommodate all the
types of documents – paper, electronic, fax, audio,
video, etc. – that are part of an organization's
processes and procedures. It should also enable the
batch processing of documents and forms in
instances where high-volume processing is part of
business operations.
Batch Processing
Organizations that image a significant number of
files a day will quickly realize the importance of
batch processing. When large numbers of documents
need to be brought into the document management
system daily, it is inefficient to process each one
individually. A full-featured document management
system allows files and records to be brought into
the system in one batch to speed up the process.
One of the most important factors in how successful
a document management system will be is its ease of
use. Usability is critical in encouraging fast staff
acceptance. A system will only be widely used if it
is simple to capture documents, organize and find
them. The best systems are user-friendly and flexible
enough to adapt to the way people already work
within an organization, rather than forcing them to
change preferred procedures.
Once all the pages have been captured, the system
should let users easily group them into appropriate
documents before assigning index fields and moving
them to their appropriate folder location. The system
should make it possible for pages to be rearranged,
removed or added to a document to correct any
mistakes that may have occurred in the organization
of a file. Similarly, it should be simple to update or
add index fields at a later time.
Interface design
To guarantee that a document management system is
readily adapted by users throughout an organization,
it is important that the graphic interfaces for
common operations, such as search and retrieval, be
clear easy to use. User-friendly interfaces not only
assure rapid adaptation of a document management
system by staff, they reduce training expenses
associated with implementation.
Bar Codes
In high volume scanning operations, automatically
separating and indexing documents using bar codes
saves time and money. Bar codes index documents
by extracting fields from an external database, by
filling in fields with preassigned values, or by
associating certain documents with a particular
index template. Bar codes can act as markers to
indicate the beginning of a new document,
automating document separation. While bar codes
require some preparation, their benefits can be
enormous. For example, if 2000 voter registrations,
500 inquiries and 2500 pages of legislative minutes
were to be scanned, bar code stickers could be placed
on each document. The system would then
automatically read the stickers, determine the start of
each new document, assign the correct type of index
template for each and fill in template information.
transferred into the database at different times so as
to minimize traffic demands on the network during
peak business hours.
Annotations permit users to append or remove
information about a document that has been captured
without permanently changing the original image.
Highlighting, stamps, redactions (black-outs or
whiteouts) and sticky notes are among the most
common annotations. A document management
system's security should give the system
administrator control over who can view annotations
and see through redactions.
Zone OCR
Organizations that repeatedly process the same
forms may want to use Zone OCR (Optical
Character Recognition) to reduce data entry time and
demands on system memory. Zone OCR saves time
through automated document indexing that reads
certain regions (zones) of a document and then
places information into the appropriate index
template fields. The amount of required storage
space is also reduced because OCR and indexing are
applied only to responses that have been entered.
In order for the document to maintain its integrity,
all annotations should be overlays that do not change
the actual image. This way, a document can be
printed with or without the annotations. Although
the legal standing of imaged documents varies from
state to state, for a document stored in the system to
stand up as the best copy of a record, users must not
be able to modify the original image.
Storage and Archiving
To minimize errors, the system should allow the user
to set a minimum percent accuracy level for OCR. If
any portion of the form does not meet this standard,
the system should notify the user so that a staff
member can read the form and manually enter the
correct field information.
Non-Proprietary File Formats
Concerns about future readability of documents and
records make many organizations hesitant to
implement a document management system. With
rapid changes in the technology sector, it is hard to
predict what applications and hardware will be
current five or ten years from now. However, the
need for faster retrieval and improved records
management means that most organizations cannot
wait to implement solutions.
Distributed Capture
For organizations with multiple offices, it is
important to ensure that a document management
system permit users at both central and branch
offices to capture and access documents as
necessary. Full featured systems allow for
documents to be scanned into the system and
To address these concerns, document management
systems should use non-proprietary image and text
formats. As the example of word processing makes
clear, documents created and saved with obsolete
versions of a program can be difficult or even
impossible to read. Since each word processing
software company uses proprietary formats for its
documents, converting files from old versions can be
a frustrating or expensive task. Similar compatibility
issues apply to the document management world.
If a document management system does not provide
this level of document portability, users of the
system will find it difficult to bring their documents
on the road and to transfer files between different
offices. Briefcases and portable volumes help users
to transfer their documents to other offices, laptops
or customers quickly and easily. Optical discs also
weigh much less than paper files.
The non-proprietary formats available for storing
document information are few, but stable. ASCII has
been a standard for text information since 1963 and
is a basic building block for practically every text
based program. TIFF has been used as a standard,
nonproprietary graphics format since 1981. It is
widely used to transmit document information by
document management systems, fax machines and
other software. Given the prevalence of ASCII and
TIFF, system purchasers can feel confident that no
matter what new paradigm arises in the future, the
developers of the new format will have a vested
interest in providing a conversion for these
standards. With proprietary document formats, there
is no such assurance.
A full featured document management system
allows users to simply drag and drop the appropriate
document management system folders into a
briefcase and transfer the briefcase to a laptop
computer or a computer in a remote office.
Portable Volumes
Portable volumes are high volume briefcases that
allow for constant updates to shared document
management databases in different locations. This
ability is useful for organizations that use a scanning
bureau on an ongoing basis or for organizations with
multiple offices. On many large-scale document
management systems, the document files are stored
on multiple drives or network volumes. Portable
volumes allow entire volumes containing document
images and text to be transferred en masse to another
Portability and CDs/DVDs
Document management systems should enable users
to carry important documents anywhere for
convenient viewing on other computers. When
people go on business trips, they often need to bring
key documents with them. Carrying paper
documents is often impractical, and copying an
entire database to a laptop can be impossible. With a
document management system that supports
briefcases or portable volumes, documents can be
detached or copied and moved to other databases in
other locations. Document management folders
containing relevant documents can be transferred to
other databases quickly and easily using searchable
CDs that hold up to 650 MBs of data – the equivalent
of approximately 12,000 pages – or read-only
DVDs, whose capacity ranges from 4.7 to 17.1 GBs.
Indexing and Retrieval
For a document management system to support
multiple users with different job functions, it is
essential that it enable multiple means of searching
for information.
Types of Searches
There are several helpful options to maximize the
effectiveness of full text searches.
Fuzzy Logic
within a certain number of words, sentences or
paragraphs of each other. For example, to find
documents relating to tobacco lawsuits, but not
smoking ordinances or tobacco growing, users could
search for “tobacco” within one sentence of the word
Most searches assume that the search words have
been spelled correctly and perfectly indexed by the
OCR process or during the manual entry of index
fields. Unfortunately, people frequently misspell
words, and no OCR process is 100% perfect. Fuzzy
logic compensates for these errors by searching for
spelling variations. A document management
system should allow the user to control the search by
setting how many letters can be wrong or what
percentage of a word can be wrong. For example, a
fuzzy logic search for “goat” would find “goat,”
“gout” and “coat.”
Result Display
The way in which the results of searches are
displayed has considerable impact on the usability of
a document management system.
Lines of Context
Even the most specific full-text searches can produce
several hits when large document databases are
involved. In addition to providing users with a list of
documents that meet their search criteria, some
document management systems reveal lines of
context that display each occurrence of the search
word in each document. Lines of context help users
pinpoint the appropriate document without having to
view every document in the search results.
Wildcards are characters, like the asterisk (*) and the
question mark, which can be used in searches to
compensate for misspellings or unknown spelling.
The asterisk stands for any character or characters,
while the question mark stands for any single
character. For example, searching for “c*t” would
find the words “cat,” “cot,” “coat,” “cut” and
“chest.” Searching for “c?t” would only find the
words “cat,” “cot” and “cut.”
Highlighted Search Words
Whenever full text searches are performed, there are
usually several documents that meet the search
criteria. Boolean operators (AND, OR and NOT)
help fine-tune searches and reduce the number of
unrelated documents on the results page. For
example, to find documents relating to the former
governor of California and not to the University of
California at Davis, users could search for
“Davis AND governor.”
Once a document is identified, the search word needs
to be located within the document. To help with this,
some document management systems display the
appropriate page of the document and highlight the
search word in both the text and on the document
image. This makes it easy for the user to
immediately zoom in on the relevant section instead
of having to look through multiple pages of a
document. The importance of this becomes obvious
when the needed word occurs on page 97 in a
200-page document.
Proximity Searches
Proximity searches can also be used to narrow the
search results. They are used to find words that occur
Document management systems must provide
efficient ways of getting information out of the
Boolean Operators
system on the level of the individual document.
Printing, faxing and e-mailing documents are several
ways of doing this. Document management systems
should promote the rapid copying of files to a CD or
DVD. To be most effective, the document
management system should support royalty free CD
or DVD duplication and contain viewers that enable
people without a document management system to
search for and view documents on the disc.
Workflow can increase the benefits of a document
management system by automating the routing of
documents to various people, which eliminates
bottlenecks and streamlines business processes. This
added functionality is more important for large
offices, for organizations with central and branch
offices and for organizations that plant to expand
their system.
Workflow should automatically notify specific users
of specific document management related system
events, based on rules created by the system
administrator. Workflow should generate return
receipts and timed responses. If a recipient does not
act within a specific time frame, the program should
send either a reminder message or a second message
to an alternate recipient. An essential component in
any procedural workflow system is document
automation. Workflow should be able to
automatically move, copy or delete documents
within the document management database based on
a predetermined set of rules. However, the success
of any workflow system is not its ability to follow
the strict routing and reporting features of a fully
automated system, but its ability to handle
exceptions to the rules as they arise. An effective
workflow system provides the system administrator
complete access to on-the fly routing of documents
and information through the system's folder
structure and system security.
To maximize their usefulness, document
management systems should support the most
common printer and fax drivers and be able to print
images, text and annotations.
E-mail has become the default mode of
communication in many organizations.
Organizations obtain significant gains in efficiency
and save considerable expense by transmitting
documents via e-mail instead of using faxes, courier
services or the postal service. Document
management systems should have options that make
it possible for images to be easily sent with any
Interface)-compliant email system and read by
recipients who do not have document management
A document management system should provide a
simple way to publish information to the Internet or
an intranet. This allows organizations to share
information with other departments, remote offices,
clients or the public. Web systems should be fully
searchable and must support the same security
protocols as network systems. Ideally, a document
management system will require no HTML or
complex coding to post files to the Web.
Workflow systems should offer administrators drag
and drop simplicity, an intuitive graphical interface
and an easily understood folder structure. Workflow
applications should be ODBC-compliant (see
Integration, below) to facilitate integration and
customized applications. As a final component,
workflow must provide for comprehensive security
reporting through an audit trail function.
organization access to HR files, while allowing
human resource staff members to view the personnel
files of everyone in the organization except other HR
personnel and the HR director to view all personnel
Security is critical to the successful implementation
and ongoing protection of a document management
system. While security may not be the primary
concern for a single department installation, it
becomes more important as the system is expanded
to allow different departments, and even the public,
access to files. A document management system
should provide multiple levels of security including
authentication, authorization, audit trails, and
disaster planning. The system's security should
parallel that of the network and be simple to
A full featured document management system will
not allow users to see objects for which they do not
have viewing privileges. This protective feature is
especially important for organizations whose
systems contain confidential files and folders.
Feature Rights
A document management system should also let
system administrators limit the actions that users are
entitled to perform on folders and documents at both
the individual and group level. Feature rights
determine a range of actions, including adding
pages, annotating, copying, or deleting records. For
example, a system administrator could allow various
departments to have viewing privileges to city
council minutes, but allow only the City Clerk to
have annotation rights to those files.
Authentication is the level of security that requires
users to present credentials, normally a user name
and password, in order to access the system.
Authorization is the level of security that controls
access to objects (files, folders, etc.). Authorization
encompasses two primary areas: access rights,
which determine the objects users can open, and
feature rights, which determine the actions that users
can perform on the objects to which they have
Redaction (blackout or whiteout) is a security feature
applied within documents to make certain portions
of the document inaccessible, except to authorized
users. A document management system should offer
the ability to redact portions of a document's image
and/or text. Users' ability to view redacted text
would depend on their security rights. For example,
a system administrator could make crime reports
available to various city departments, but allow only
the Police Department to see sensitive information
such as the victim's name and address.
Access Rights
A document management system should let
organizations assign access to specific folders, as
well as specific documents, at both the group and
individual level. The use of groups with inherited, or
predefined, rights allows system administrators to
quickly assign viewing privileges, while individual
level security allows specific users such as managers
to also view documents that the rest of the group
cannot. For example, access rights would allow the
system administrator to deny most employees in an
Audit Trails and Reporting
Systems (GIS) and Student Information Systems
(SIS), and databases in use by the organization.
As an additional level of security, a document
management system should offer the ability to
generate audit trails and reports that detail system
activity. A document management system should be
able to log all users, documents viewed, actions
performed and the time at which the actions were
performed. A full featured document management
system will log unsuccessful attempts to perform
actions and provide electronic watermarks to
authenticate printed documents. Audit trail abilities
are especially important when an organization has
many different users and confidential documents.
Audit trails also play significant roles in
demonstrating regulatory compliance.
Back-end characteristics that facilitate integration
• Open architecture – the use of hardware and
software whose specifications are designed for
easy integration. This enables anyone to create
add-on products to connect the hardware or
software to other devices.
• UDA (Universal Data Access) compliance –
conformity to a single application program
interface designed by Microsoft that allows users
to combine data from different databases made by
various manufacturers.
Disaster Recovery
See also System Compatibility below.
Digital archiving with a document management
system simplifies disaster recovery planning by
allowing backups of entire document repositories to
be stored on durable CDs, DVDs or other media. In
the event of document loss or damage, archives can
be reconstructed from digital backups. The solution
should also provide built-in viewers on published
CDs and DVDs. This allows immediate document
access from any PC with a CD or DVD drive even if
the network remains offline for an extended period.
Technical Considerations
System Compatibility
Compatibility is the capacity of a document
management system to work with existing hardware
and software systems. To maximize compatibility
with your existing systems, a document management
system should:
• Work with standard operating systems and support
standard database platforms.
The introduction of new software and databases
often creates logistical challenges for the computer
support staff of an organization. Document
management programs should offer packaged
integration tools for simple image enabling in order
to minimize the burden on computer support staff.
To minimize disruptions to business operations, it is
essential that a document management system
integrate smoothly with other software applications,
such as PeopleSoft, Geographic Information
• Communicate using popular network protocols
such as IPX/SPX or TCP/IP.
• Have the capability to deploy over the Web.
• Use n-tier architecture with client-side image
compression/decompression and server-side
searching and indexing to minimize network
• Store text and image files in non-proprietary
industry-standard formats.
Document management solutions, like any other
network application, consume computer resources.
Image files are large, and databases must track large
numbers of records. Functions such as OCR, image
display and searching require extensive computing
power. It is important to have n-tier architecture
when more than a few people need access to imaged
documents. Even when an installation begins with a
single-user pilot project, it remains important that
the document management system be able to
accommodate future growth.
Networked Systems
In any office, documents are used to transmit
information between people. For document
management to be truly useful in an office
environment, documents must be accessible to all
authorized users. It is important for document
management systems to have a central repository of
records, accessible from any PC. Storing documents
on individual PCs, however, impairs the flow of
information between coworkers and wastes valuable
time and resources. Networked systems are vital to
foster collaboration. Networked systems carry out
certain document management functions more
efficiently than individual PCs can. For example,
Optical Character Recognition (OCR) of an image
requires a great deal of computing power.
An n-tier system delivers maximum scalability in
departmental solutions and across the organization
with distinct client, business logic, data and
document layers. Any network connected storage
media, including Storage Area Networks (SANs),
can be used for physical storage, while multiple SQL
servers handle the distributed database layer.
Tasks such as indexing, OCR and searching are
distributed between the client (PC workstation) and
the document management server for optimal
performance. Some tasks are performed more
efficiently on the client, while others are better
handled by the central server. Where the specific
tasks are performed may vary among different
document management systems.
The scalability of a system determines how much it
can grow with your organization's needs. For full
scalability, a system should:
• Support the entire group of users within an
organization concurrently.
It is important to distinguish between this more
robust design approach and simple file sharing
applications. In file sharing applications, file
integrity can be compromised when a workstation
program is interrupted in the middle of a transaction.
With computing functions distributed across
multiple tiers, however, the client does not open data
files directly. Therefore client interruptions do not
threaten data integrity.
• Store all documents in the organization.
• Be designed to accommodate a high volume of
users and documents.
• Store information across multiple drives or
• Support multiple databases.
• Accommodate high volume usage.
An n-tier system can perform searches much faster,
since the server machine is typically more powerful
than individual workstations. File sharing systems
• Integrate with other applications.
send a copy of the entire database over the network
to the workstation, which then performs the search.
This method leads to: a) increased network traffic if,
for example, the database is 800 MB in size; and b)
search response times that are dependent upon the
speed of the PC workstation. File sharing systems
may be easier to develop and therefore less
expensive initially, but their design ultimately
restricts flexibility and scalability, limiting their
long-term usefulness.
criteria. A records management application must
also have a way to control the metadata fields
associated with every record, record series and
record folder. It must limit the entering of metadata
to the time of filing, yet allow authorized users to
edit and correct filing errors.
Linking and Versioning
The records management application must allow
users to indicate related records through linking, a
form of metadata that defines and establishes
relationships between documents. Examples include
records, multiple renditions and incremented
versioning. A records management application
should allow document links to be established by all
users at the time of filing, but only authorized users
should be able to create, modify or remove links
Thin Client
A thin client is an infrastructure friendly solution
that minimizes the burden of application installation,
maintenance and software upgrades. The benefits of
thin clients extend beyond conserving IT resources
to expediting the search and retrieval of information
over the organization's intranet or the Web. A Web
browser based thin client must effectively deliver
essential features to end users without
compromising system security.
Versioning is a special document relationship, used
to indicate an auto-incremented sequence of
revisions to a particular record. The records
management application must allow users to
establish record versioning. Versions must be
retrievable as if they were independent documents
and contained their own metadata. A records
management application must clearly indicate if a
record has multiple versions and which version is the
most recent.
Records Management Applications
Records management systems enable the application
of systematic controls and policies concerning the
life cycle of those records that detail an
organization's business transactions. Records
management applications (RMAs) should allow
organizations to file records according to a
determined scheme, to control the life cycle of
records, to retrieve records based on partial
information and to identify records that are due for
final disposition.
Security Tags and Audits
Security tags represent a metadata field intended to
define and restrict access to records, as well as aid in
their classification and retrieval. A records
management application must allow the records
manager to define security tags and to allow users to
assign tags to records upon filing. Only authorized
users should be able to modify or remove security
tags post-filing. The records management
Records Series and Metadata
A records management application must allow
records to be refiled in different folders or series
after their initial filing in order to meet DoD 5015.2
application must also support the audit of all filing,
handling and disposition of records.
Vital Records
Vital records – those records deemed essential in
order for an organization to resume business
operations immediately after a disaster – are subject
to periodic review and update. A records
management application must provide a way to
assign a review cycle to vital records and detail when
they were last reviewed. Examples of vital records
include emergency operating records or legal and
financial rights records. The records management
application must also offer a way to retrieve all vital
records, identify when they were last reviewed and
indicate vital records due for review at any given
Disposition and Freezing
The records management application must handle
two types of disposition action: interim transfers and
final disposition. The available actions for final
disposition are accession and destruction. The
records management application must allow for the
exportation of entire record folders and their
metadata values for transfer and accession events.
Following the confirmation of successful transfer,
the records management application should be able
to maintain the records, maintain only the metadata
or completely delete the records. The records
management application should be able to freeze a
folder. When a folder is frozen, no record may be
removed from the folder, and no record in the folder
may be modified.
IV. Implementation: Addressing Your
Business Needs
When you consider document management systems,
there are a number of factors to keep in mind.
required for implementation of document and
records management systems, these concerns
should be resolved before investing in a particular
• How many documents must the system store?
Consider both the number of existing documents
and the number of documents added annually.
This information determines how much storage
space is needed, the hardware configuration and
the cost of the system.
• Do you want a turnkey solution or a customized
one? This determines the amount of consulting,
installation, training, configuration and support
that will be needed.
• How many users will be using the system
concurrently? This determines preliminary
software costs, required licenses and server size.
• What type of network is currently used and will it
continue to stay in place, or will it be upgraded?
This determines network constraints, system
configuration and workstation upgrades.
• What departments will be using the system and
will it be necessary to provide public access? This
determines what specific features and levels of
security will be needed.
Records Management
Records management systems necessitate special
considerations in addition to those listed above.
• What business problems need to be solved to
reduce costs and improve productivity? This
determines which functions of a document
management system will be requirements and
which will be optional. It also helps determine
whether plug-ins or customizations will be
• The records management application should
support custom searches based on record
properties, retention or disposition properties,
full-text content, template fields, folder location,
sticky-note contents and more. It should be
possible to save search results in a usable format,
such as an Excel spreadsheet.
• Are there regulatory compliance issues governing
your organization? If so the document
management system should have functions that
support compliance.
• The records management application should
manage the full life cycle of the record, from
document creation through declaration as a record
to final disposition.
• Do you need to integrate your document
management program with other software
applications, such as human resource or GIS
(Geographic Information Systems) programs?
Because integration issues often increase the time
End User
Scaling from Pilot Project to an
Organization-wide Solution
End-user training involves a focus on the basics of
daily system use. This training should take place
on-site. Each group should receive all instruction
necessary to ensure comfort with the new document
management system. The amount of training
necessary will depend on the users' level of
familiarity with Windows applications, the
document management system's ease of use and the
degree of change from existing procedures. Because
of the need to bring new employees up to speed as
quickly as possible, a well-designed document
management system should be easy to use.
Large organizations sometimes prefer to begin with
a pilot project involving one or two departments
before expanding their document management
system to the entire organization. Whether or not an
organization begins with a pilot project, a document
management system should be scalable, meaning
that it should allow an organization to easily expand
the size of the system to accommodate
organizational growth, at the level of either users or
Given a user-friendly system and minimal change in
procedures, most users will become proficient in a
short time period. Effectiveness is improved when
the class size is limited to no more than 10 people
and participants are free from interruption. Training
should include supervised, hands-on use of the
document management system during actual
operation. This allows users to ask questions that
might not occur to them until they are using the
system for business procedures.
The first step of an installation should be a site
evaluation by the software vendor to determine
proper equipment placement and to identify any
installation consists of connecting and setting up all
components, including installation of the necessary
operating systems and drivers. It requires the testing
of equipment to ensure proper hardware
functionality and network connectivity.
System Administration
After tests of the hardware have been conducted, the
document management software is installed on the
document management server and the necessary
workstations. It must be tested to ensure operability.
Generally, the software vendor will perform these
tasks with the collaboration of the organization's IT
It is important to train select individuals on how to
administer and maintain the system. On-site training
is recommended because it increases familiarity
with specific details of the document management
Implementation Consulting
Implementation consulting assists those responsible
for the document and records management functions
to develop strategies for translating the
organization's current filing and indexing structures
into electronic systems. Electronic filing is different
from paper filing, and records managers face the
Training programs should be tailored to the specific
needs of different levels of users and their concerns.
• Regularly published
challenge of these differences when setting up their
systems. Considerations regarding retention
schedules, storage and filing methodologies need to
be evaluated before the system is fully implemented.
The length of the training depends on the complexity
of the filing system and should take place on-site.
• On-site maintenance visits
• Additional and/or advanced training sessions
• Hardware support
When purchasing hardware, such as servers, storage
devices and workstations, organizations should
choose vendors with good reputations for service
and support. While the initial cost may be higher, the
benefits include less downtime and more consistent,
reliable functioning.
Support and Maintenance
Document management systems, like any
Organizations should evaluate the software vendor's
support structure. Vendors should offer various
levels of support from software upgrades to regular,
on-site maintenance visits.
Outsourcing Scanning
Organizations sometimes find it faster or more cost
effective to have a service bureau perform their
back-file document conversion or ongoing
document scanning. Generally, in these cases, the
document management system is maintained by the
organization, while the service bureau is responsible
for delivery of the scanned documents on CDs or
another medium. In addition to storing images and
text information, these CDs must also carry data
describing the document names, index fields,
folders, etc.
Factors that affect the level of support that an
organization needs are:
• Size of the system purchased
• Amount of time demands on the system
• IT personnel's level of experience with document
• Internet access
• Concurrent changes that have to be made to the
organization's computer network or infrastructure
If the organization has been modifying existing
documents and creating new ones during this time,
overwriting the organization's database with the new
one provided by the service bureau is not an option.
The document management system must be able to
merge new and existing data seamlessly. A portable
volumes feature will handle this automatically.
• Rate of personnel turnover
Support can entail any or all of the following:
• Software upgrades
• Telephone hotline support
• Online forums
• Remote access to your system
• Software patches available through an FTP site
Compliance and Legal Issues
• Have documentation on how the software works
and how it is set up.
A document management system can help limit
exposure to civil and criminal liability stemming
from non-compliance with regulatory statutes by
ensuring the consistent application of policies
organization-wide and by providing audit reports.
Many government agencies now accept imaged
documents as legal records, meaning that the paper
originals can be destroyed, given certain conditions.
In general, for an imaged document to qualify as a
legal record, the following must be true:
While laws and auditing authorities vary by industry
and state or region, most regulations share two
common principles: the information must be set in
time, meaning that the date and the time of the
creation of the digital images must be recorded in an
unalterable fashion, and the storage media used by
the system must be unalterable. In some areas, such
as financial planning, a copy of the records must be
maintained by an independent third-party and be
readily available to auditors, when requested.
• Records must be stored in an unalterable format,
such as CD, DVD or WORM.
• The system must have controls to ensure integrity,
accuracy and reliability.
• The system must provide some type of audit trail
to prevent and detect unauthorized creation of,
addition to, alteration of or deletion of records.
• A complete and accurate transfer of records must
be possible.
In order to meet general compliance demands, a
document management system must:
• The system must have reasonable controls to
prevent and detect deterioration of records.
• Allow documents and records to be retrieved on
• Store digital images on acceptable media.
• There must be an indexing system to assist with
finding records.
• Maintain records in an unalterable format.
• The system must have the ability to print copies of
• Permit a complete and accurate transfer of records.
• Possess reasonable controls to ensure integrity,
accuracy and reliability.
• The system must be able to cross-reference other
record-keeping systems and software.
• Have reasonable controls to prevent and detect the
unauthorized creation, alteration or deletion of
records, as well as record deterioration.
• The system must have documentation on how the
software works and how it has been set up.
• Contain an indexing system that facilitates
document retrieval.
The legality of imaged documents varies depending
upon the federal agency, state, county, municipality
and department involved. Organizations should
consult with an attorney on the specific statutes
governing their area.
• Be able to print copies of records, when required.
• Make cross-referencing with other recordkeeping
systems and software possible.
Frequently Asked Questions
(two-dimensional) compression. Grayscale and
color images are frequently stored as TIFF files with
JPEG compression.
Q. What is a document?
A. A document consists of information stored on
anywhere from one to several thousand pages. It can
include images and/or text, plus annotations, and one
template (index card).
Q. What is the standard format used to store text?
A. ASCII, which stands for the American Standard
Code for Information Interchange, has been the
standard, non-proprietary text format since 1963.
Q. Can I edit or alter images?
A. A document management system should not
allow the original image to be altered or edited.
Annotations should be overlays that do not alter the
original document. It is important to protect the
original image in order to maintain both the legal
status of the document and the integrity of the
Q. How much disk space does a document
management system typically require? A. A single
page typically occupies around 50KB of disk space,
if the image is stored in TIFF Group IV. Each
gigabyte (GB) of storage space, which amounts to
only a few dollars, holds approximately 20,000
pages. With the significant drop in prices for hard
drives and optical media, it costs much less to store
documents in a document management system than
on paper.
Q. Do document management systems support
audit trails?
A. Yes. A document management system's audit trail
should record username, date, time, document name
and action for every instance in which a user
accesses a database or document. Various levels of
audit trail logging detail and activity tracking should
be available. The system should include a viewer to
sort and filter these logs. Audit trails are especially
important for regulatory compliance.
Q. What is the standard format used to store
A. Black and white images are most commonly
stored as standard TIFF files using CCITT Group IV
What if my database is too big to fit in one data
A. Several manufacturers make scanners specifically
designed for large format documents up to E-size (34
inches x 44 inches) and A-0 size (33 inches x 46.8
inches). If you do not have one of these, the
document can be reduced in size using a photocopier
and then scanned with a normal scanner, or sent to a
service bureau that has large format scanners.
A. A document management system should allow
data and images to be stored across multiple
volumes, with each volume residing in a different
directory or on a different drive, disk array, CD or
MO disk.
Q. What image resolution should I use?
Q. What are the most common hardware and
software scanner interfaces? A. Many scanners
attach to an Adaptec SCSI card or to a Kofax Image
processing board. Most scanners use either TWAIN
or ISIS scanner drivers to communicate with the
A. Most imaging systems can support documents
scanned at various resolutions, from 50 dpi to 600
dpi (or more) depending on your scanner. Depending
on the purpose and the contents of the page, most
documents are scanned in black and white at 300 dpi.
Q. What about color files or photographs?
Q. How can I scan forms?
A. Imaging systems should support black and white,
grayscale and color images. Color files can be
scanned with a color scanner or imported into a
document management system. There are a wide
range of color scanners on the market. Many
document management scanners support color and
A. Forms processing components often use multiple
OCR engines and elaborate data validation routines
to extract hand-written or poor-quality print from
forms that go into a database. Because many forms
that are scanned were never designed for imaging or
OCR, it is essential to have good quality assurance
mechanisms in place when scanning forms to correct
errors that might occur.
Q. How can I scan double-sided documents?
A. An imaging system should provide two different
ways to do this. It should support duplex scanners,
which simultaneously scan both sides of a page, and
simplex scanners, which require the user to scan all
the front sides, place the documents in upside down
and then scan all the back sides, before the system
collates the pages into the correct order.
Q. Can I capture information from multi-function
peripherals (MFPs)?
A. A full-featured document management system
allows you to capture documents from different
network locations, including MFPs, or devices that
perform any combination of scanning, printing,
faxing or copying.
Can I scan landscape and portrait pages
How can I scan large format documents?
A. An imaging system should allow you to change
the orientation of pages during or after scanning. A
well designed system will also include an option to
automatically check and correct the orientation of
system providing long-term archival of documents
should allow the images of each page to be stored in
a non-proprietary format. For example, electronic
document pages would be printed to the document
management system, black and white graphical files
would be converted to TIFF Group IV format and
color/grayscale images would be converted to TIFF
or JPEG.
Q. How are skewed images handled?
A. Skewed (crooked or tilted) images can adversely
affect the accuracy of the OCR process, so an
imaging system should include software that
recognizes skewed images and compensates for
them. This is particularly important when scanning
press cuttings on a flatbed scanner or when scanning
documents through a worn out or poorly designed
automatic document feeder (ADF).
Q. How do I index scanned documents?
A. There are three primary ways to index documents:
folder structure, index or template fields, and
full-text indexing. Folder structure essentially
functions as a visual indexing method that allows
users to browse for documents by categories. Index
or template fields categorize documents according to
keywords, which can be either manually entered or
automatically assigned by the document
management program. Full-text indexing is the
automated process of entering every word in a
document into the index.
Q. How can I scan checks?
A. Several manufacturers make scanners specifically
designed for checks, which read the magnetically
encoded MICR (Magnetic Ink Character
Recognition) numbers at the bottom of the check. If
you do not have one of these scanners, most checks
can be scanned with regular document imaging
scanners and OCR-processed as usual, though the
MICR numbers will not be read. To integrate MICR
information into the document management
database, the document management system must
support check scanning hardware.
Q What is OCR?
A. OCR stands for Optical Character
Recognition and refers to the way a computer
converts words from an unsearchable scanned image
to searchable text. OCR is usually necessary in order
to use full-text indexing and searches, so it should be
included in an imaging and document management
system. OCR engines can generally only recognize
typed or laser printed text, not handwriting.
Q What file formats can a versatile system
A. A versatile system should be able to import the
files you encounter in your office. This includes
presentations as well as common image formats such
as TIFF Group IV, TIFF Group III, TIFF Raw, TIFF
and EPS Preview images. A document management
Q. What is the difference between OCR and
A. OCR is the process of converting scanned images
to text files. Full-text indexing is the process of
adding each word from a text file to an index that
specifies the location of every word on every
document. Well-designed document management
software can make this a fast and easy procedure,
providing rapid access to any word in any document.
find words even if the OCR engine makes occasional
Q. How fast is the OCR process?
A. The performance of the OCR and indexing
processes is entirely dependent on factors such as the
speed and configuration of the host system as well
as the contents of the image.
Q: What is the difference between index field
searches and full-text searches? A: Index field or
template searches enable you to retrieve preestablished categories of documents, whereas
full-text searches turn up every occurrence of
designated words in the database. When the database
contains a large number of documents, the difference
between sorting documents by topic and listing
every occurrence of a word in the database –
including passing references – is significant in terms
of the time required to analyze the search results and
locate the desired document(s). How accurate is
Q. What is ICR (Intelligent Character Recognition)?
A. ICR is pattern based character recognition and is
also known as Hand Print Recognition. Handwritten
text is more difficult for computers to recognize and
results in higher error rates than printed text. ICR
engines usually do best at recognizing constrained
printing, which means block printed letters with one
letter in each box. Accurate recognition of
unconstrained handwriting, especially cursive
handwriting, typically requires that the ICR engine
be trained to recognize each user's style of writing.
A. Accuracy on a freshly laser printed page is
typically better than 99.6%. Accuracy on faxed, dirty
or degraded documents will be lower, so it is
essential that an imaging system have image
clean-up technology to improve OCR accuracy.
Q. What is OMR (Optical Mark Recognition)?
A. OMR, also called Mark-Sense Recognition, is the
recognition of marks commonly used on forms, such
as check marks, circled choices and filled-in
bubbles. OMR can be an important part of a
document management system for organizations that
process many standard forms. Exam forms and
customer survey cards are perhaps the best known
examples of OMR.
Q. Do I have to go through text to correct OCR
mistakes manually?
A. Well-designed systems allow users to correct
OCR errors from within the system. However, when
hundreds or thousands of pages are scanned every
day, it is usually not practical to clean up the text.
Because the OCR process does not have perfect
accuracy, it is important that the document
management system support fuzzy logic searches.
Fuzzy logic searches allow for misspelling and will
Q. Can OCR-processed text be exported and reused
in a word processor? A. Yes, you can usually cut
and paste text between the document management
system and another Windows application, or you can
export complete text files (all text pages in a
A. Screen resolution and the refresh rate of the
monitor are also important. Generally, the larger a
monitor is and the higher resolution it has, the harder
it is to get the high refresh rate that is required for
sustained viewing without screen flicker. The
optimum threshold for minimum flicker is generally
considered to be a horizontal refresh rate of 72 MHz
on a 21inch monitor. The maximum refresh rate is a
function of the monitor and the graphics controller.
document) to a directory and open it with your
preferred word processing program.
Q. Can I open and display more than one
document at a time?
A. Some document management systems will allow
you to display multiple documents, with the number
of documents that you can have open simultaneously
limited only by the amount of memory available.
Q. Will I need a specialized printer for images or
OCR-processed text?
A. Generally no. Most imaging systems support a
wide variety of Windows compatible printers, but an
optimal configuration includes a laser printer with at
least 4 MB of RAM. If you are using a networked
system and printing high volumes of pages to a
network printer, you might consider installing a
separate laser printer either locally or on its own
network segment to minimize network traffic.
Q. How can I resequence pages of a document
before printing or exporting? A. If pages are out of
order and need to be resequenced, a well-designed
document management system will allow you to
drag thumbnail views of pages to the required
position. In the same way, individual pages can be
selected and deleted, subject to appropriate security
Q. In which formats can I export documents?
access control and privileges. Q. What is the
advantage of a large monitor?
A. It depends on the document management system.
Common graphical formats include TIFF Group III,
TIFF Group IV, TIFF Raw, BMP, PCX, PNG and
A. For people who use an imaging system frequently,
screen size can be a critical factor. If users are to flip
between pages with the ease of real paper, they must
be able to view the whole page at once in a way that
allows the text to be readable. If 81/2-inch x 11-inch
pages are the dominant paper size, then a 21inch
monitor capable of displaying 1600 x 1200 is
optimal. Using a 15-inch VGA monitor will require
scrolling and panning if the image is viewed at
normal size.
Q. What happens when a user without redaction
viewing rights prints a document that has been
A. A document management system should protect
the integrity of the document by printing with the
redactions intact.
Q. What other display considerations are
Records Management
Q. Are all documents records?
A. No. Records management is a specialized
discipline that deals with information serving as
evidence of an organization's business activities. In
particular, it is a set of recognized practices related
to the life cycle of that information. Often, records
refer to documents, but they can include other forms
of information, such as photographs, blueprints or
even books.
COLD (Computer Output to Laser
Q. What does records management software do?
Q. What is the difference between COLD and
dispositions; automated notification for review of
vital records; freezing of records; and
comprehensive audit trail reporting.
A. COLD is specifically for archiving, indexing,
searching and printing reports from high volume text
files generated by mainframes, mini-computers and
other computer applications. COLD stores large
report files and extracted index fields on hard disk,
optical cartridge or CD-ROM instead of printing all
the information out on paper or storing it to
A. Records management software supports the
application of systematic controls to the creation,
maintenance and destruction of an organization's
Q: Does DoD 5015.2 certification guarantee
compliance with other regulations like HIPAA?
A. No. It is important to distinguish between
regulatory compliance and the DoD 5015.2
standard. The DoD standard represents baseline
functionality for records management applications
(RMAs) used within the Department of Defense. It
serves as the de facto standard for records
management applications across government and
industry. However, it is a records management
standard and not a broad regulatory compliance
standard. DoD-5015.2 certification facilitates
compliance by supporting the application of
systematic records policies; it cannot guarantee
compliance. Compliance is a process dependent on
the application of records policies.
Q. How many index fields can the COLD server
extract from each report? A. The number of index
fields is usually unlimited. However, the more fields
extracted from each report, the more slowly the
extraction process will run and the larger the index
files will be.
Q: How do records management applications help
enforce proper policies? A: Records management
applications can support the application of
consistent policies and procedures through a series
of mechanisms, including: mandatory metadata
acquisition and automated extraction of e-mail
metadata; support for time, event and time event
VI. Glossary of Terms
the results of the query in HTML format for viewing
by a Web browser.
Access Rights
A security mechanism that lets the system
administrator determine which objects (folders,
documents, etc.) users can open. It should be
possible to set access rights should for groups and
Audit Trail
An electronic means of tracking all access to a
system, document or record, including the
modification, deletion and addition of documents
and records.
Automatic Document Feeder. This is the means by
which a scanner feeds the paper document.
Bar Code
A small pattern of lines read by a laser or an optical
scanner, which correspond to a record in a database.
An add-on component to document management
software, bar-code recognition is designed to
increase the speed with which documents can be
stored or archived.
The changes or additions made to a document using
sticky notes, a highlighter or other electronic tools.
Document images or text can be highlighted in
different colors, redacted (blacked-out or
whited-out) or stamped (e.g., FAXED or
CONFIDENTIAL), or have electronic sticky notes
attached. Annotations should be overlaid and not
alter the original document.
Batch Processing
The name of the technique used to input a large
amount of information in a single step, as opposed
to individual processes.
American Standard Code for Information
Interchange. Used to define computer text that was
built on a set of 255 alphanumeric and control
characters. ASCII has been a standard,
non-proprietary text format since 1963.
See Raster/Rasterized.
ASP (Active Server Pages )
The abbreviation for a native file format of
Windows for storing images called bitmaps.
A technology that simplifies customization and
integration of Web applications. ASPs reside on a
Web server and contain a mixture of HTML code
and server-side scripts. An example of ASP usage
includes having a server accept a request from a
client, perform a query on a database and then return
Boolean Logic
The use of the terms AND, OR and NOT in
conducting searches. Used to widen or narrow the
scope of a search.
The temporary storage of image files on a hard disk
for later migration to permanent storage, like an
optical or CD jukebox.
processes (such as searching and indexing) are
completed on the server, while image viewing
occurs on the client. File-sharing applications are
easier to develop, but they tend to generate
tremendous network data traffic in document
management applications. They also expose the
database to corruption through workstation
interruptions. Client-server applications are more
difficult to develop, but dramatically reduce network
data traffic and insulate the database from
workstation interruptions. See also n-Tier
CD or DVD Publishing
An alternative to photocopying large volumes of
paper documents. This method involves coupling
image and text documents with viewer software on
CDs or DVDs. It is essential that search software be
included on the CDs or DVDs to provide immediate
retrieval abilities.
Computer Output to Laser Disc. A process that
outputs electronic records and printed reports to
laser disc instead of a printer. Can be used to
replace COM (Computer Output to Microfilm) or
printed reports such as greenbar.
A method to simplify the transport of a group of
documents from one computer to another.
Burn (CDs or DVDs)
To record or write data on a CD or DVD.
Caching (of Images)
Compression Ratio
The ratio of the file sizes of a compressed file to an
uncompressed file. With a 20-to-1 compression
ratio, an uncompressed file of 1 MB is compressed
to 50 K B.
Short for CD-Recordable. A CD that can be written
(or burned) only once. It can be copied as a means to
distribute a large amount of data. CD-Rs can be read
on any CD-ROM drive whether on a standalone
computer or network system. This makes
interchange between systems easier.
Removing shaded areas to render images more
easily recognizable by OCR.
Compact Disc-Read Only Memory. Written on a
large scale and not on a standard computer CD
burner (CD writer). An optical disc storage medium
popular for storing computer files as well as digitally
recorded music.
The process of straightening skewed (off-center)
images. Documents can become skewed when they
are scanned or faxed. Deskewing is one of the
image enhancements that can improve OCR
Client-Server Architecture vs. FileSharing
Two common application software architectures
found on computer networks. With filesharing
applications, all searches occur on the workstation,
while the document database resides on the server.
With client-server architecture, CPU-intensive
Removing isolated speckles from an image file.
Speckles can develop when a document is scanned
or faxed.
Flatbed Scanner
Actions taken regarding records after they are no
longer required to conduct current business.
Possible actions include transfer, archiving and
A flat-surface scanner that allows users to capture
pages of bound books and other nonstandardformat documents.
Folder Browser
The process of converting grays to different
densities of black dots, usually for the purposes of
printing or storing color or grayscale images as
black and white images.
A system of on-screen folders (usually represented
as hierarchical, or stacked) used to organize
documents. For example, the Windows Explorer
program in M Microsoft¨ Windows is a type of folder
browser that displays the directories on your disk.
Document Management
Forms Processing
Software used to store, manage, retrieve and
distribute digital and electronic documents, as well
as scanned paper documents.
A specialized document management application
designed for handling preprinted forms. Forms
processing systems often use multiple OCR engines
and elaborate data validation routines to extract
hand-written or poor quality print from forms to go
into a database. With this type of application, it is
essential to have good quality assurance
mechanisms in place, since many of the forms that
are commonly scanned were never designed for
imaging or OCR.
Duplex Scanners vs. Double-Sided
Duplex scanners automatically scan both sides of a
double-sided page, producing two images at once.
Double-sided scanning uses a single-sided scanner
to scan both pages, scanning one collated stack of
paper, then flipping it over and scanning the other
Full-Text Indexing and Search
Enables the retrieval of documents by either word
or phrase content. Every word in the document is
indexed into a master word list with pointers to the
documents and pages where each occurrence of
the word appears.
Digital Video Disc or Digital Versatile Disc. A disc
similar to a CD, on which data can be written and
read. DV Ds are faster, hold more information and
support more data formats than CDs.
Fuzzy Logic
A full-text search procedure that looks for exact
matches as well as similarities to the search criteria,
in order to compensate for spelling or OCR errors.
Feature Rights
A security mechanism that allows system
administrators to determine the actions that users
can perform on the objects to which they have
Graphics Interchange Format.
colleagues or the public for searching, viewing and
Gigabyte (GB)
2 (approximately one billion) bytes, or 1024
megabytes. In terms of image-storage capacity, one
gigabyte equals approximately 17,000 81/2-inch x
12-inch pages scanned at 300 dpi, stored as T IFF
Group IV images.
ISIS and TWAIN Scanner Drivers
ISO 9660 CD Format
An option to display a black-and-white image file in
an enhanced mode, making it easier to view. A
grayscale display uses gray shading to fill in gaps or
jumps (known as aliasing) that occur when
displaying an image file on a computer screen.
The International Standards Organization format
for creating CD-ROMs that can be read worldwide.
Specialized applications used for communication
between scanners and computers.
Joint Photographic Experts Group (JPEG or JPG). An
n image-compression format used for storing color
photographs and images.
Image Enabling
Allows for fast, straightforward manipulation of an
imaging application through third-party software.
For example, image enabling allows for launching
the imaging client interface, displaying search
results in the client and bringing up the scan
dialogue box, all from within a third-party
Key Field
Database fields used for document searches and
retrieval. Synonymous with index field.
Multifunction Printer or Multifunctional Peripheral.
A device that performs any combination of
scanning, printing, faxing, or copying.
Image Processing Card (IPC)
A board mounted in the computer, scanner or
printer that facilitates the acquisition and display of
images. The primary function of most IPCs is the
rapid compression and decompression of image
Multipage TIFF See
Documents stored on optical discs or compact discs
that are housed in the jukebox or CD changer and
can be retrieved without human intervention.
Index Fields
Database fields used to categorize and organize
documents. Often user-defined, these fields can be
used for searches.
Optical Character Recognition (OCR). A software
process that recognizes printed text as
alphanumeric characters. OCR enables full text
searches of documents and records.
Internet Publishing
Specialized document management software that
allows large volumes of paper documents to be
published on the Internet or intranet. These files
can be made available to other departments, offsite
Archival documents stored on optical discs or
compact discs that are not connected or installed in
the computer, but instead require human
intervention to be accessed.
Information, regardless of medium, that constitutes
evidence of an organization's business transactions.
Record Series
A record series is a group of records subject to the
same set of life-cycle instructions.
Documents stored on the hard drive or magnetic
disk of a computer that are available immediately.
Region (of an image)
An area of an image file that is selected for
specialized processing. Also called a zone.
Open Architecture
Applied to hardware or software whose design
allows for a system to be easily integrated with
third-party devices and applications.
Retention Period
The length of time that a record must be kept
before it can be destroyed. Records not authorized
for destruction are designated for permanent
Optical Discs
Computer media similar to a compact disc that
cannot be rewritten. An optical drive uses a laser to
read the stored data.
See Grayscale.
Picture Element. A single dot in an image. It can be
black and white, grayscale or color.
The capacity of a system to scale up, or expand, in
terms of document capacity or number of users
without requiring major reconfiguration or re-entry
of data. For a document management system to be
scalable, it must be easy to configure multiple
servers or add storage.
Portable Volumes
A feature that facilitates the transfer of large
volumes of documents without the need to copy
multiple files. Portable volumes enable individual
CDs to be easily regrouped, detached and
reattached to different databases for a broader
information exchange.
Raster/Rasterized (Raster or Bitmap
SCSI Scanner Interface
An input device commonly used to convert paper
documents into computer images. Scanner devices
are also available to scan microfilm and microfiche.
The device used to connect a scanner with a
A method of representing an image with a grid (or
map) of dots or pixels. Typical raster file formats are
Single-Page TIFF See
Workflow, Ad Hoc
Structured Query Language. The popular standard
for running database searches (queries) and
A simple manual process by which documents can
be moved around a multi-user document
management system on an as-needed basis.
Templates, Document
Sets of index fields for documents.
Workflow, Rules-Based
A programmed series of automated steps that
routes documents to various users on a multiuser
document management system.
Small versions of an image used for quick overviews
that give a general idea of what an image looks like.
WORM Disks
Tagged Image File Format. A non-proprietary raster
image format, in wide use since 1981, which allows
for several different types of compression. TIFFs
may be either single or multipage files. A singlepage TIFF is a single image of one page of a
document. A multipage TIFF is a large, single file
consisting of multiple document pages. Document
management systems that store documents as
single page TIFFs offer significant benefits in
network performance over multipage TIFF systems.
Write-Once-Read-M any Disks. A popular archival
storage medium during the 1980s. Acknowledged
as the first optical discs, they are primarily used to
store archives of data that cannot be altered. W
ORM disks are created by standalone PCs and
cannot be used on the network, unlike CD-Rs. In
some industries, such as financial services, the
definition of WORM has broadened to include other
media, such as CD-ROMs and DV Ds, which provide
accessible but unalterable document storage.
TIFF Group III (compression)
This Guide provided by
A one-dimensional compression format for storing
black and white images that is utilized by most fax
Digital Onesource Consulting Solutions
TIFF Group IV (compression)
A two-dimensional compression format for storing
black-and-white images. Typically compresses at a
20-to-1 ratio for standard business documents.
In document or records management applications,
the ability to track new versions of documents after
changes have been made.