Document management is a large field. To date it has been the province of
large companies and systems have been very expensive. The need also applies
to small business, which is not being well served. While Windows NT based
systems are way beyond a small company's budget, OS/2 and Linux systems now
becoming available are much more economical (Bill Gate's own
home town couldn't afford a Windows
solution and went with Linux).
Document management consists of the transfer of documents from paper to magnetic or optical media, and arranging for search, retrieval, viewing and printing of those documents on demand. This retrieval is much faster than finding a paper document, and documents are never lost because they are still safely stored even when displayed at a workstation or printed. Some programs can mark up a document image so notes can be added to the image.
The main tools are scanners, (which cost between $100 and $60,000 depending on size, speed and whether they have automatic feed and/or scan both sides of a document), document acquisition and indexing software, and video display equipment (ranging from a simple monitor to a page display board and monitor). OCR software, which converts document images into word processor documents is also used in some cases. Often the indexing software has OCR capability so parts of the document can be highlighted, OCRd and entered directly into the index without manual typing.
Document imaging systems are sometimes used in conjunction with Data Capture programs which read typed or hand written information from forms directly into data records and indexes.
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