The process of digital document management begins with the conversion of paper or other documents into digitized images. These images can be easily organized and quickly retrieved, indexed and archived. When files are scanned or electronically converted, a high-resolution digital copy is stored on a hard drive or optical disc. Templates, or electronic index cards, can associate information, such as author, reference number, date created or key words, with a document. Files can still be viewed, printed, shared and stored. Which documents users can read and what actions they can perform on these documents depend on the level of security that the system administrator has assigned to them.
Digital document management represents a significant advance over storing information on paper. No longer just ink on a page, the document becomes active content after processing by Optical Character Recognition (OCR) technology. A document management system should offer effective search tools for document retrieval, including full-text search, template field searches and a visual filing scheme that permits users to browse for documents. The best systems will allow you to find documents using a combination of all three methods.
Document management maximizes the value of paper documents. Files can still be viewed, printed, shared and stored, but have the enormous advantage of having active content. You can easily search files with active content, and you can create workflow rules to automatically route files from one user to another.