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Do you know the terminology when it comes to content and document management projects?

18 Sep

In my many interactions with clients, there tends to be a need for an accurate understanding of the terminology when discussing content and/or document management project needs and requirements.  This is expected since this type of solution is new to organizations as they begin to investigate and review a needs analysis.  This is what has brought me to share common EDM/ECM terminology with you, the reader.  I have compiled a list of the most commonly used with their respective definitions.  I hope this helps anyone looking for clarity around understanding the different components within a document or content management solution.

EDM/ECM Terminology:

Electronic Document Management System System that manages the content of electronic documents and provides facilities for version control and access control. Also referred to as Document Management Systems and Electronic content management systems

Backfile Conversion Process of converting files/documents that have accumulated over a period of time. Used in reference to projects to microfilm or scan and digitize documents.

Background Parts of a page or image that do not include text, lines or other information.

Boolean Searching Text searching technique using Boolean logic operators such as AND, OR and NOT.

BPM Business Process Management.

Business Process Re-engineering (BPR) Name given to a project that involves modelling one or more business processes, redesigning them and then implementing the new processes often using DIP and workflow management software.. Name given to a project that involves modelling one or more business processes, redesigning them and then implementing the new processes often using DIP and workflow management software.

Client Server A networked computer architecture where numerous clients are connected to one or more server computers. In a DM system, PC or workstation clients are used for viewing, editing, image processing, etc. Servers hold the index database and manage the image files.

Content Management Interoperability Services (CMIS) is an open standard that allows different content management systems to inter-operate over the Internet. Specifically, CMIS defines an abstraction layer for controlling diverse document management systems and repositories using web protocols.

Content Management System (CMS) is a software application or set of related programs that are used to create and manage digital content.

Compression Means of reducing stored image file sizes. Commonly used in DIP systems where the bit-map image for a page is typically reduced to around 52KB, but also used for program and data files in order to increase disk capacity. Decompression is the process which restores files to their original state.

Content Management Term used to refer to systems that manage the content objects which form documents. Can be used to differentiate compound document management systems from simple document management systems. Increasingly being used as an alternative, technically more accurate, term for an electronic document management system.

Conversion Process of converting documents from one form to another, e.g. paper to digital.

DIP Document Image Processing. Document image processing systems transform unstructured information held on paper documents or microfilm into digital images. These, together with a suitable index, can become the basis for the automation of filing, storage, retrieval, distribution and display of documents.

Online Business or e-business is any kind of business or commercial transaction that includes sharing information across the internet.

E-Commerce Commercial transactions conducted electronically on the Internet.

Enterprise Content Management (ECM). The management of all types of content, including business documents, Web-based content, electronic transactions, e-mails, document images, and rich media across an organization.

EPS (Encapsulated PostScript) A file format commonly used by computer applications having graphics capability. PostScript enables images to be accurately displayed and scaled for printing or inclusion in other application programs without disturbing the file’s native attributes.

Forms Processing Software that automates the process of scanning paper forms, applying recognition technology to recognize the form, extracting data from the form, validating, correcting and exporting the data to a business application.

 Intelligent Character Recognition (ICR) Recognition processes in which a document image (bit-map) is converted to coded text, e.g. ASCII, word processing format. Involves advanced techniques such as feature analysis and artificial intelligence. Able to recognise a wider range of type styles and sizes than Optical Character Recognition

Image Enhancement The use of image processing techniques to improve the quality of an electronic image.

Image Processing The manipulation of digital images after they have been scanned and digitized. Includes rotation, zoom, enhancement, analysis, etc.

Imaging The process of capturing, storing and retrieving information, regardless of its original format, using micrographics and/or scanning and optical disk technologies.

Index Descriptive data that enables desired information to be retrieved. Image data in DIP has no inherent meaning (unless OCR is applied) and hence all stored images must be indexed for subsequent retrieval. Index information is usually entered by filling in an on-screen form. On some systems OCR/ICR or barcode recognition may be used to automate the task by reading specified segments of the document, e.g. customer number.

Keyword A significant word in a document that helps to define the content of the document.

Optical Character Recognition (OCR). Technique for analyzing images and recognizing and translating the alphanumeric characters into machine-readable text.

Thresholding Image processing technique which defines whether a scanned pixel should be considered black or white. Commonly used to drop out background colours in order to clarify the textual content or line work of a document

Transaction Processing Workflow type application aimed at the processing of transaction type documents, i.e. cheques and application forms.

Vector Graphics The technique of manipulating or displaying an image whereby each line, object and shape is described by a formula from which it can be reconstructed. Vector graphics are preferred for Computer Aided Design (CAD) systems.

Wildcard Non-specific searching term primarily used in text or text field searching as a substitute for characters or words.

Workflow The process of organizing business processes as a controlled sequence of activities.


Lori Johnston, the founder of Allied Exchange, is a Management Consultant specializing in Sales Enablement, Sales Performance, and Process Transformation. She helps businesses with changes that are needed to activate sustainable and accelerated growth. With over 20 years of experience as a collaborative change leader, enabling the growth of successful teams and organizations, Lori is an efficiency champion for businesses facing challenges in an ever-expanding digital world. She is the Greater Los Angeles President for the National Association of Women Sales Professionals (NAWSP) and Innovation member of the International Association of Women (IAW). Her goal is to share her extensive knowledge and expertise with companies that are in search of fresh ideas and new perspectives to achieve their goals. Throughout her career, she has held various sales leadership roles within organizations. Building successful teams by combining her technical knowledge and business acumen.