Common Definitions

Document Scanning & Management Service Industry Common Definitions

Those new to the document scanning and management services can often run across terms and keywords that are peculiar which is completely understandable. With this in mind, we took the initiative and pulled together a list of common definitions of terms and phrases to make you more knowledgeable about what you read. Let’s face it, you came here to look for ways to help your company run more smoothly and with these keywords you can much more easily find what you need instead of simply guessing. As a leading expert in document management and scanning services, you can be assured what you obtain from American Micro is above industry standards.

Enterprise Content Management (ECM) is the technologies, tools, and methods used to capture, manage, store, preserve, and deliver content across an enterprise. At the most basic level, ECM tools and strategies allow the management of an organization’s unstructured information, wherever that information exists. A critical component of ECM is integrated document management and digital document imaging.

From the Association for Information and Image Management (AIIM)

CAPTURE | MANAGE | STORE | DELIVERY | PRESERVE – (click to jump to section on page)


Common Document Conversion DefinitionsAggregation -The process of combining data inputs from different creation and authoring tools and other systems.

Categorization -Organizing documents, Web pages, and other content into logical groupings, based on their contents.

COLD/ERM (Computer Output to Laser Disk/Enterprise Report Management)-Stores and indexes computer output (reports primarily) on magnetic disks, optical discs, and
magnetic tape. Once stored, the reports can be retrieved, viewed, printed, faxed, or distributed to the Internet. Often used for Internet Billing applications.

Document Imaging -Process of capturing, storing, and retrieving documents regardless of original format, using
micrographics and/or electronic imaging (scanning, OCR, ICR, etc.).

E-Forms/Web Forms -Forms designed, managed, and processed completely in an electronic environment.

Forms Processing -The ability for software to accept scanned forms and extract data from the boxes and lines to
populate databases. Software usually includes the ability to drop out the form so that recognition accuracy improves.
Intelligent Document Recognition automatically identifies document types from the layout and structure of the

HCR (Handprint Character Recognition)-OCR technology designed to turn images of handprint characters into ASCII code.

ICR (Intelligent Character Recognition)-Advanced form of OCR technology that may include capabilities such as
learning fonts during processing or using context to strengthen probabilities of correct recognition or that can
recognize handprint characters.

Indexing -Identification of specific attributes of a document or database record to facilitate retrieval.

Input Designs -Templates used to enable authors to more easily enter content into a system, typically customized, based on the type and format of content to be entered.

OCR (Optical Character Recognition)-Technique by which images of characters can be machine-identified, then converted into computer processable codes.

OMR (Optical Mark Recognition)-Detects presence, or absence, of marks in defined areas; used for processing questionnaires, standardized tests, etc.

XML (eXtensible Markup Language)-An established standard, based on the Standard Generalized Markup Language, designed to facilitate document construction from standard data items. Also used as a generic data exchange mechanism.


Collaboration -Tools (collaborative authoring, video conferencing, shared whiteboards, etc.) that allow multiple
users to work on the same content in a common environment.

Document Management -Software that controls and organizes documents throughout an enterprise. Incorporates
document and content capture, workflow, document repositories, COLD/ERM and output systems, and information
retrieval systems.

Records Management -Enables an enterprise to assign a specific life cycle to individual pieces of corporate
information from creation, receipt, maintenance, and use to the ultimate disposition of records. A record is not
necessarily the same as a document. All documents are potential records, but not vice versa. A record is essential
for the business; documents are containers of “working information.” Records are documents with evidentiary value.

Web Content Management -A technology that addresses the content creation, review, approval, and publishing
processes of Web-based content.

Workflow/BPM (Business Process Management)-Automation of business processes, in whole or in part, where documents,
information, or tasks are passed from one participant to another for action, according to a set of rules. A business process is a logically related set of workflows, worksteps, and tasks that provide a product or service to customers.

BPM is a mix of Process Management/Workflow with Application Integration technology.


Audit Trails -Log of who changed what when for accountability.

CD-ROM (Compact Disc Read Only Memory)-Optical disc that is created by a mastering process and used for
distributing read-only information.

Check In/Out -Ensures that only one person can work on a document at any time.

Content Management System -The capability to manage and track the location of, and relationships among, content
within a repository.

Data Warehouse -Central repository for all, or most, of an organization’s structured data.

Database -(1) Electronic collection of records stored in a central file and accessible by many users for many applications. (2) Collection of data elements within records or files that have relationships with other records or files. Relational databases are most common-data is stored in standard rows, tables, and columns. XML databases are a developing technology.

DVD (Digital Versatile Disc)-120mm optical disc on which digital video, audio, data, and images can be stored. Available in read-only, recordable, and rewritable formats.

File System -The way in which files are named and where they are placed logically for storage and retrieval, most commonly in a hierarchical (tree) structure.

Magneto Optical (MO)-Recording data using a combination of magnetic and optical means to change the polarity of a magnetic field in the recording medium. Data is erasable and/or rewritable.

Magnetic Storage -Hard disks on down to floppies.

NAS (Network Attached Storage)-Can be part of a SAN. Hard disk storage directly attached to the network to provide information access.

Optical Disc -Medium that will accept and retain information in the form of marks or density modulation in a recording layer that can be read with an optical beam.

RAID (Redundant Array of Independent Disks)-Storing the same data on multiple hard disks for improved performance and fault tolerance.

Repositories -Part of a Document Management system; specific functionality to control the check-in/out of material, version control, and look-up against defined attributes.

Retrieval -Procedure for searching for and extracting database records or content

SAN (Storage Area Network) – A high-speed network that connects computer systems and storage elements and allows movement of data between computer systems and storage elements and among storage elements.

Tape -A magnetic storage media. Standard widths are 8mm, 1/8-inch, 1/4-inch, 1/2-inch, 4mm DAT (Digital Audio Tape), and DLT (Digital Linear Tape) in either rolls or cassettes.

Version Control -Procedures to identify the authorship and the sequence of different versions of a document.


COLD/ERM -Computer Output to Laser Disc/Electronic Report Management.

Compression -Technique used to reduce the number of bits in a digital image file; JPEG and TIFF are two examples.

Digital Rights Management -Enables secure distribution, and disables illegal distribution, of paid content over the Web.

Digital Signature -Electronic signature that can be used to authenticate the sender of a message.

PDF (Portable Document Format)-Format developed by Adobe Systems for document publication.

Personalization -Matching content to the individual.

PKI (Public Key Infrastructure)-Enables the secure exchange of content through the use of a public and a private cryptographic key pair that is obtained through a trusted authority.

Syndication -Supply of content for reuse and integration with other material, often through a paid subscription.

Transformation -Changing content from one format to the needed delivery format.

XML – An established standard, based on the Standard Generalized Markup Language, designed to facilitate document
construction from standard data items. Also used as a generic data exchange mechanism.


Microfilm (Aperture Cards, Microfiche, Microfilm Jackets, 16mm Roll Film)-(1) Fine-grain, high-resolution film used to record images reduced in size from the original. (2) Microform in the shape of a strip or roll. (3) To record microphotographs on film.

Optical Disc -Primarily WORM (Write-Once, Read-Many); Optical disk on which data is recorded by the user once (and is unalterable) and can be read many times.

Paper -Centuries old and, with Microfilm, one two ways to ensure that documents are readable 100 years from now, or longer.

SAN/NAS and CAS (Content Addressed Storage)-Are all increasingly used for archiving content. CAS is a storage methodology designed for rapid access to fixed content.