Electronic Document Management and its Components

Document management systems consist of a set of computer programs that are used to track and store captured or scanned images of paper documents and/or electronic files that are used in certain business processes. Such systems are also called Electronic Document Management (EDM) wherein usually, documents come in different recognizable file formats that are kept on a protected database for secure retrieval purposes. The components of document management systems include the following terms:

(a) Versioning is a process in which a previous copy of a document is retained after a necessary update on the original has been made. Keeping older versions of documents is important for file tracking purposes.

(b) Metadata is used to facilitate understanding, management and usage of data to assist users in locate documents faster and easier. Metadata provides additional information on the document to make it unique from others. Information given may be descriptive or algorithmic, depending on the user’s preference.

(c) Indexing is used to track and classify electronic documents through metadata or other word indexes, making it easier to locate and retrieve data when such a need arises.

(d) Distribution Security is an important aspect of any computer system to protect critical information and data from being exposed to unauthorized users. This is the reason why many EDM systems permit rights for an administrator to give access rights only to specific users.

(e) Collaboration is an inherent concept for most EDM systems wherein if one user is working on a certain document, others should not be able to access it anymore so as to prevent file conflicts.