Document Management Solutions

Category: Hardware , Software

Many businesses generate and receive documents in lots of different formats: paper, email, PDF files, graphic image files, faxes, HTML, etc. Document management solutions have never been more important, or more complex. Here's an overview of the various types of document management systems available to home users, businesses and webmasters...

What is a Document Management System?

A document management system (DMS) is a combination of software and hardware used to track, store, and retrieve electronic documents and digital images of paper documents. A typical DMS has several components and functions. Document capture is the process of scanning a physical document into a digital form. Metadata is usually added to a captured document to describe its content and define key words that will be used to find it again. Integration of documents with other applications allows a word processor, for example, to locate a document in the DMS, import it into the current document, and save the new version under a different name.

OCR (optical character recognition) is the process of scanning a physical document's handwritten or typewritten text and converting its characters into digital text. OCR enables conversion of many mounds of paper into compact text files on a hard drive, without the tedious task of re-typing it all. In digital form, the text can also be indexed and searched, re-formatted with word processing or other types of software, and shared among many users simultaneously. OCR software such as PaperPort and OmniPage (both from Nuance Communications) are highly accurate and fast at scanning standard fonts in English. Handwritten text still presents challenges for OCR technology.
Document Management Systems

Some desktop scanners can scan documents for digital storage, and use OCR to convert them to searchable PDF documents. The Fujitsu ScanSnap is a popular example, used in many homes and offices. Scanners with OCR capability are especially useful for lawyers, accountants, and other professional services that tend to deal in large amounts of paperwork.

Digital signatures may be required in a regulated industry such as law, real estate, or medicine to verify the identities of every person who handled or altered a digital document. A digital signature may include a graphic image of the signatory's actual signature, or it may be an encrypted certificate that can be inserted into a document only by the owner who knows its password. See my related article on Digital Signatures to learn more about how they work.

Content Management Systems

Web content management is vital to most enterprises these days. The thing about Web content is that it's fluid; a Web page can change at the whim of a programmer or depending on the identity, input, and preferences of a user. Earlier versions may be lost unless they are archived. Web content management systems include blog software such as Wordpress and Joomla. It can also be more sophisticated software that integrates OCR, paper document storage systems, retrieval and distribution services. You can read my article Content Management Systems for examples of solutions for both non-technical and more tech savvy users.

Document management companies include Xerox, Belwo, Infushui, and other makers of document scanning, printing, and OCR equipment. Many smaller firms specialize in the integration of hardware and software from various companies and the customization of a DMS to a company's specific needs.

Then there are firms which specialize in storing and destroying physical documents. Tax records, medical records, legal paperwork, government records of all kinds must be preserved safely for years, or indefinitely. Document storage services provide climate-controlled, disaster-proof storage facilities for such documents and the ability to locate and retrieve a particular piece of paper quickly. At the end of the required storage period, these firms fulfill legal requirements for the confidential and complete shredding and disposal of documents.

Do you have something to say about document management solutions? Post your comment or question below...

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Most recent comments on "Document Management Solutions"

Posted by:

19 Nov 2010

There is a document management software called

CALIBRE. Pl.check it.

Posted by:

Corwin Smith
20 Nov 2010

After completion of the reading of your this post i am unable to control myself so i need to write something, But i want to only say that this post is really really really great information.Thanks for the sharing.

Posted by:

21 Nov 2010

I recently came across a website on OCR technology, containing all kinds of information about OCR software, news about companies and developers. Have you heard of it?

EDITOR'S NOTE: You "recently came across" this site? Then it's just a huge coincidence that BOTH the domain you mentioned and the IP address you posted with, resolve to Varna, Bulgaria? Hmmm...

Posted by:

30 Nov 2010

You're on the right track here. I just started experimenting with sqlDESKTOP which seems to be a very powerful document management application. Years ago, I wrote a thesis on Knowledge Management (KM)(quit laughing, it's real). It's basis is an attempt to ensure that senior staff (in age and status) voluntarily enter information that would be of use to others. It's a tough sell as many people don't like to share knowledge (job security).
Thanks for your good work through the years!

Posted by:

30 Nov 2010

For office document capture, scanner features to consider include duplex (scanning both sides in the same pass), flat bed (for books) as well as automatic document feed modes, 11”x17” size; and monochrome, grayscale or color scanning options. Inclusion of Kofax VRS (Virtual ReScan) software is highly recommended to improve legibility and reduce file size.

One of the biggest problems with scanned documents is poor legibility because resolution is set too low, or because pages with illustrations are scanned in B&W instead of grayscale or color. Use at least 400 dpi resolution and adjust color setting depending on the content.

For Optical Character Recognition, ABBYY FineReader is also excellent, but if the purpose is just to enable searching and not editing, Adobe Acrobat can also scan to provide word recognition in PDF's.

Posted by:

08 Dec 2010

Complete document management systems are a major benefit for streamlining the workflow within a business. For years I ran a non-profit organization and, unfortunately,we never had the budget or staff resources to put a full document management system into place.
I did, however, find lots of use from individual services like free online OCR Conversion, etc. My favorite site for this that I've discovered recently is a beta software offered by Ricoh Innovations. You can find it at this link:

Posted by:

Neel Punatar
14 Nov 2013

If you have forms with handwriting that need to be converted to a database or excel file go to

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