Our Document Management Expertise
TMDI is a specialist consultancy in document management systems (DMS), generally a set of computer programs used to
track and store electronic documents. We are vendor independent and specialise in ensuring existing systems are used
effectively – we do not implement document management systems. They are usually also capable of keeping track of the
different versions modified by different users (history tracking). The term has some overlap with the concepts of
content management systems. It is often viewed as a component of enterprise content management (ECM) systems and
related to digital asset management, document imaging, workflow systems and records management systems.
While many EDM systems store documents in their native file format (Microsoft Word or Excel, PDF), some web-based
document management systems are beginning to store content in the form of html. These policy management systems
require content to be imported into the system. However, once content is imported, the software acts like a search
engine so users can find what they are looking for faster. The html format allows for better application of search
capabilities such as full-text searching and stemming.
Document management systems commonly provide storage, versioning, metadata, security, as well as indexing
and retrieval capabilities. A brief description of these components follows:
Metadata 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
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.
Capture primarily involves accepting and processing images of paper documents from 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. Optical mark recognition (OMR) software is
sometimes used to extract values of check-boxes or bubbles. Capture may also involve accepting electronic documents
and other computer-based files.
Visual validation registration system and important data. E.g. document failures, lack of bells, missing signatures,
misspelled names, this can be printed on paper documents or images on paper.
Indexing tracks 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
ord 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.
Storage of electronic 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
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.
A published document for distribution has to be in a format that can not be easily altered. As a common practice in
law regulated industries, an original master copy of the document is usually never used for distribution other than
archiving. If a document is to be distributed electronically in a regulatory environment, then the equipment tasking
the job has to be quality endorsed AND validated. Similarly quality endorsed electronic distribution carriers have to
Document security is vital in many document management applications. Compliance requirements for certain documents
can be quite complex depending on the type of documents. For instance, in the United States, the Health Insurance
Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) requirements dictate that medical documents have certain security
requirements. Some document management systems have a rights management module that allows an administrator to give
access to documents based on type to only certain people or groups of people. Document marking at the time of printing
or PDF-creation is an essential element to preclude alteration or unintended use.
Workflow is a complex process and some document management systems have a built-in workflow module. There are different
types of workflow. Usage depends on the environment to which the electronic document management system (EDMS) is
applied. Manual workflow requires a user to view the document and decide whom to send it to. Rules-based workflow allows
an administrator to create a rule that dictates the flow of the document through an organization: for instance, an
invoice passes through an approval process and then is routed to the accounts-payable department.
Collaboration should be inherent in an EDMS. In its basic form, a collaborative EDMS should allow documents to be retrieved
and worked on by an authorized user. Access should be blocked to other users while work is being performed on the document.
Other advanced forms of collaboration allow multiple users to view and modify (or markup) a document at the same time in a
Versioning is a process by which documents are checked in or out of the document management system, allowing users to
retrieve previous versions and to continue work from a selected point. Versioning is useful for documents that change
over time and require updating, but it may be necessary to go back to or reference a previous copy.
Searching finds documents and folders using template attributes or full text search. Documents can be searched using
various attributes and document content.
Publishing a document involves the procedures of proofreading, peer or public reviewing, authorizing, printing and
approving etc. Those steps ensure prudence and logical thinking. Any careless handling may result in the inaccuracy of
the document and therefore mislead or upset its users and readers. In law regulated industries, some of the procedures
have to be completed as evidenced by their corresponding signatures and the date(s) on which the document was signed.
The published document should be in a format that is not easily altered without a specific knowledge or tools, and yet
it is read-only or portable.
Document/image reproduction is key when thinking about implementing a system. It's great to be able to put things in,
but how are you going to get them out? An example of this is building plans. How will plans be scanned and scale be
retained when printed?
Documents stored in a document management system - documents such as procedures, work instructions, and policy statements
- provide evidence of documents under control. Failing to comply could cause fines, the loss of business, or damage to a
When working in an environment that requires document control, the following procedures are useful to document:
• Reviewing and approving documents prior to release
• Reviews and approvals
• Ensuring changes and revisions are clearly identified
• Ensuring that relevant versions of applicable documents are available at their “points of use”
• Ensuring that documents remain legible and identifiable
• Ensuring that external documents like customer supplied documents or supplier manuals are identified and controlled
• Preventing “unintended” use of obsolete documents
Integrated document management is the technologies, tools, and methods used to capture, manage, store, preserve, deliver
and dispose of 'documents' across an enterprise. In this context 'documents' are any of a myriad of information assets
including images, office documents, graphics, and drawings as well as the new electronic objects such as Web pages, email,
instant messages, and video. Note: Some of this content was drawn from Wikipedia.
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