Document management system
Web Design & Development Guide
Document management system
A document management system (DMS) is a computer system (or set
of computer programs) used to track and store electronic documents
and/or images of paper documents. The term has some overlap with the
Content Management Systems and is often viewed as a component of
Enterprise Content Management Systems and related to
Digital Asset Management, Document imaging, Workflow systems and Records
A document management system will typically address some or all of the
|Location and Time
||Typically via a built in search engine. Some also allow documents to
be retrieved using metadata (date, time,
document type, etc)
||Protection against loss, tampering or destruction of documents? How
to deal with sensitive information?
||Readability? How can we protect our documents against fires, floods
or natural disasters?
||What to retain? Length of retention? Removal?
||People? Cost of distribution?
||If documents need to pass from one person to another, what are the
rules for how their work should flow?
||Number of people and logistics of collaboration?
||How do we provide needed requirements for legal submission to
government and private industry that the documents are original and meet
their standards for authentication?
Beginning in the 1980s, a number of vendors began developing systems to
manage paper-based documents. Initially designed to offer mainly
document imaging-level capture, storage, indexing and retrieval
capabilities, the applications grew to encompass electronic documents,
collaboration tools, security, and auditing capabilities...
Document Management and Communication
Electronic document management is in particular worked out by Carzaniga and
Wolf (2001) in their paper “Content-based networking: a new communication
infrastructure”. The authors introduce content-based networking as a
communication infrastructure where information is driven by the content
throughout the network. The users express their interests, and the senders
simply input the message into the network. From that point the network delivers
all the information to the right people. Sprague (1995) delivers a more
elaborate work in which he introduces document management through using IT. He
calls it electronic document management: EDM. He defines managing of documents
as the “creation, storage, organization, transmission, retrieval, manipulation,
update, and eventual disposition of documents to fulfill an organizational
purpose” (pp.32), and he further states that EDM improves communication among
people and groups of people (pp 42-43).
There are several other examples from the literature for the link between EDM
and communication. Hansen and Haas (2001) elaborate on the role of the suppliers
and users of information in electronic documents. Another research with a very
clear link between EDMS and communication is that of Thorpe and Mead (2000).
They showed that an EDM system changes the communication patterns. Of the three
case projects they researched, EDM acquired a central role in two of them, (the
third project was abandoned after three months). A research of Howard and
Pettersen (2001) about the way of communicating in a construction project had as
result that EDM (Howard and Pettersen call it project web) was number three
communication tool just after telephone and a meeting, leaving e-mail,
paper-post and fax behind. Rene Brohm (2005) introduced in his dissertation the
theater model. The theater model illustrates methaphorically how document
management systems correspond with a stage in a theater. His argumentation is
that the interaction in a play on the stage is similar with the functioning of a
If all the data and information would be put in a central database/intranet,
which can be used by everyone in the organization, there would be a clear link
between IT and dissemination of information according to Marin & Poulter (2004).
They argue that because of the easy access to the information, it would flow
through the organization. The authors confirm this in their paper (2004) by
stating that distribution of intelligence can be aided by technology.
There are different ways of improving this communication tool. Hansen and
Haas (2001) see the electronic document management as a market, with
competition. According to them suppliers should have a strategy about how to
share information and how to persuade their clients (employees) to use the
One way to do this is introduced by Yan & Garcia-Molina (1999 pp.2) who use
EDM to: “make long term profile consisting of a number of standing queries to
represent his information needs”. Through this they state that dissemination of
information is improved. Users receive information in their field of interest
because of a profile that was submitted. Therefore search costs and search time
for employees are decreased.
Document management systems commonly provide storage, versioning, metadata,
security, as well as indexing and retrieval capabilities. Here is a description
of these components.
is typically stored for each document. Metadata may, for example, include the
date the document was stored and the identity of the user storing it. The DMS
may also extract metadata from the document automatically or prompt the user to
add metadata. Some systems also use
optical character recognition on scanned images, or perform text extraction
on electronic documents. The resulting extracted text can be used to assist
users in locating documents by identifying probable keywords or providing for
full text search capability, or can be used on its own. Extracted text can also
be stored as a component of metadata, stored with the image, or separately as a
source for searching document collections.
Many document management systems attempt to integrate document management
directly into other applications, so that users may retrieve existing documents
directly from the document management system repository, make changes, and save
the changed document back to the repository as a new version, all without
leaving the application. Such integration is commonly available for
office suites and e-mail or collaboration/groupware software. Integration often
uses open standards such as ODMA, LDAP, WebDAV and SOAP to allow
integration with other software and compliance with internal controls.
Images of paper documents using scanners or multifunction printers. Optical
Character Recognition (OCR) software is often used, whether
integrated into the hardware or as stand-alone software, in order to convert
digital images into machine readable text.
electronic documents. Indexing may be as simple as keeping track of unique
document identifiers; but often it takes a more complex form, providing
classification through the documents' metadata or even through word indexes
extracted from the documents' contents. Indexing exists mainly to support
retrieval. One area of critical importance for rapid retrieval is the creation
of an index topology.
electronic documents. Storage of the documents often includes management of
those same documents; where they are stored, for how long, migration of the
documents from one storage media to another (Hierarchical storage management) and eventual document destruction.
Retrieve the electronic documents from the storage. Although the notion of
retrieving a particular document is simple, retrieval in the electronic context
can be quite complex and powerful. Simple retrieval of individual documents can
be supported by allowing the user to specify the unique document identifier, and
having the system use the basic index (or a non-indexed query on its data store)
to retrieve the document. More flexible retrieval allows the user to specify
partial search terms involving the document identifier and/or parts of the
expected metadata. This would typically return a list of documents which match
the user's search terms. Some systems provide the capability to specify a
Boolean expression containing multiple keywords or example phrases expected to
exist within the documents' contents. The retrieval for this kind of query may
be supported by previously-built indexes, or may perform more time-consuming
searches through the documents' contents to return a list of the potentially
Open source content management systems
Version control systems
List of content management systems
List of content management frameworks
Document management system
Enterprise content management
Geospatial Content Management System