Electronic Document Management System

An electronic document management system is a collection of technologies that are used to create, capture, index, distribute, review, maintain, store, retrieve and dispose of information assets.

Basic functions of an Electronic Document Management System include:

  • Security control: This function controls which users have access to which information.
  • Addition, designation, and version control: It should allow users to add documents to the system and designate a document as an official government record. It should also automatically assign the correct version designation.
  • Metadata capture and use: It should allow you to capture and use the metadata appropriate for your organization.

Optimal functions of Electronic Document Management system include:

  • Records management: A records management software must be able to provide secure access, maintain the record’s context within a record series, and automate the execution of disposition instructions for all records in the system.
  • Storage: This function will allow you to store documents within the EDMS or to centrally manage your adjunct storage system.
  • Free-text search: The free-text search allows users to search every word in an entire document or a specified group of documents. Other systems search only metadata.
  • Links: This provides links from one document to another to facilitate navigating and browsing among related documents.
  • Compound document management: This function manages compound documents better than others. Compound documents are single documents that contain multiple elements (e.g., text, photographs, video, hypertext links).

Major components of an Electronic Document Management System include imaging, document management, and approval workflow processing. Digitized documents are stored off-site. Some of these systems will store images of documents, whereas some software solutions include optical character recognition, which can translate scans of documents into editable text. This software is also used as a database of sorts, allowing for searching and sorting of the mass of documents collected. Electronic document management software is a very efficient means of storing information, and can greatly reduce the amount of labor that is required to do simple tasks. It safeguards against the loss of paper documents and ensures that a historical document can easily be edited without having to make copies. It also allows for very easy transmission of documents. Security is another benefit, given that computer systems are far easier to secure than files to which many people have physical access.