Glossary of Terms

Document management and its related topics are becoming increasingly important in reducing business costs and improving efficiency. Today, document management systems include many different technologies such as OCR, COLD, ERM, STP, BPA, and API. This page lists some of the common acronyms and phrases associated with document management and explains what they mean.
Some Document Management Acronyms
Acronym Meaning
BPA Business Process Automation
BPM Business Process Management
BPO Business Process Outsourcing
DM Document Management
EDM Electronic Document Management
EDMS Electronic Document Management System
OCR Optical Character Recognition
ICR Intelligent Character Recognition
MICR Magnetic Ink Character Recognition
OMR Optical Mark Recognition
COLD Computer Output to LaserDisc
PDF Portable Document Format file
API Application Programming Interface
ERM Electronic Records Management
STP Straight through processing
Business Process Automation
Refers to the IT automation of any currently manual business process.

Business Process Management
The management of various business processes (both electronic and manual) within an organisation or business.

Business Process Outsourcing
The use of external companies to perform various internal business functions.

Unstructured or Semi-structured Documents
Documents that are not in a consistently structured format (which are typified by application forms). Semi-structured documents contain known information in unknown locations on the document (e.g. supplier invoices), while unstructured documents have no pre-defined structure whatsoever (e.g. business letters).

Document Management
The storage and management of documents within an organisation. Historically, document management used to refer just to the management of documents after they were scanned into a computer system. Today, document management more usually refers to the complete process of document imaging (or document scanning), OCR, workflow, document storage, document indexing and document retrieval.

Document Indexing Metadata
The information captured off documents to be used for search and retrieval purposes.

Electronic Document Management
The management of different kinds of documents in an organisation by using computer programs and storage either on an electronic storage device or on a server.

Electronic Records Management
The field of management responsible for the efficient and systematic control of the creation, receipt, maintenance, use and disposition of records. Document scanning is usually an integral element of ERM, although ERM encompasses the management of paper records as well.

Electronic Document Management System
A computer based system for managing both electronic and non-electronic documents (such as paper documents, microfilms or microfiche). An electronic document management system (EDMS) includes a method of checking documents into the system, document version control, and the ability to provide secure access to documents within the system.

Document imaging or document scanning
Document imaging refers to the online storage, indexing, management and retrieval of documents. The most common form of document imaging is the scanning of paper documents. Today, many document imaging systems include other aspects of document management such as workflow and OCR.

Document Processing
Document processing is another term that is used to include both document imaging and workflow. It includes indexing and search facilities, together with the ability to route documents around the organisation.

Straight through processing
This is the ultimate goal when implementing a workflow or business process automation system, since it means that documents and information gets processed ‘straight through’ the organisation via computer systems without any human intervention.

Distributed Capture
The scanning and digital capture of document images and metadata at various points within the organisation irrespective of its physical location. The major benefits in doing this are reduced postage / courier costs, reduced processing times, better traceability and the ability to use IT systems to automate workflow (BPA) at the earliest possible stage in the business process.

Mailroom Automation
The mailroom now in its widest sense refers to the automated and centralised capture and management of ALL information entering a company. This includes paper mail, emails and electronic document content. Automating the company mailroom is one of the key drivers for implementing document capture.

Today workflow usually refers to the automatic controlled routing of documents around an organisation to the person responsible for working on the document. Workflow software usually deals with the linear step by step process required in the life cycle of a document. It includes the ability to manage the execution of the work through escalation procedures and audit trails.

Optical Character Recognition is used to convert paper based documents, microfilm or microfiche into readable ASCII text. Other forms of OCR includes Intelligent Character Recognition (ICR) for hand printed text (hand writing in pre-defined blocks or “combs”), Optical Mark Recognition (OMR) for recognition of check marks (as used in multiple choice selections), and Magnetic Ink Character Recognition (MICR) for recognising the information contained within the magnetic strip at the bottom of cheques. OCR systems can recognise many different types of fonts and is most commonly used with document scanning. When text documents are scanned, they are stored as images and then OCR software converts these images into actual text. The main advantage of using OCR is the speed of data capture, but the results must still be checked since OCR is typically only accurate to a 70% to 85% “confidence”. Scan4U provides a full document scanning and OCR conversion service.

PDF conversion
PDF (Portable Document Format) files are an electronic file format from Adobe that has become a recognised standard for publishing brochures and information sheets. Scanned documents can be easily exported in PDF format. An advanced feature of PDF documents is its ability to store text within the image itself (or vice-versa), allowing for full text search capabilities. Scan4U uses OCR software that allows full-text PDF documents to be exported from paper documents.

COLD (Computer Output to LaserDisc)
Archiving large quantities of electronic transactions onto optical storage disks. These are used in preference to other forms of storage because they can be accessed directly.

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