Glossary of Terms

Below are some common industry terms related to features provided by FusionDox ECM. Included are definitions provided from online resources.


A file that only contains text characters from the ASCII character set. An ASCII file contains letters, numbers, and punctuation symbols, but does not contain any hidden text-formatting commands. Also known as a text file, and aSCII text file.


Online electronic approvals are a common feature of Document Management and Electronic Document Management Systems and usually refer to the process of acknowledging your acceptance (or refusal) of a document as part of a structured workflow. Approval records are usually saved and permanently stored with the document itself.


A file that contains more than plain text (ie photos, sounds, a spreadsheet, or a formatted word-processing document). In contrast to ASCII files, which contain only characters (plain text), binary files contain additional code information. A binary file is made up of machine-readable symbols that represent 1s and 0s. Binary files include sound files, graphics files, and software, and are frequently called binaries.(ref:


Collaboration, by definition, means "to work jointly with others or together especially in an intellectual endeavor." In Document Management and Electronic Document Management Systems, collaboration is used to define the process by which multiple users can contribute to the authoring of a particular piece of content. In Web Portals, collaboration is usually referred to as the tools necessary for multiple users to communicate, such as discussion threads or online chats.


See Content Management


Content Management is a set of processes and technologies supporting the evolutionary life cycle of digital information. This digital information is often referred to as content or, to be precise, digital content. See Content Management System.


A CMS is a system used to organize and facilitate collaborative creation of documents and other content. A CMS is frequently a web application used for managing websites and web content (referred to as Web Content Management), though in many cases, content management systems require special client software for editing and constructing articles.

Enterprise Content Management, Document Management and Web Content Management are all considered to be forms of Content Management.


See Content Management


Digital Rights Management is an umbrella term referring to any of several technical methods used to control or restrict the use of digital media content on electronic devices with such technologies installed. The media most often restricted by DRM techniques include electronic documents, music, visual artwork, and movies.


Refers to the ability of an application, system, or platform to practically utilize any binary or ascii file type. A document neutral system approach to recognize and incorporate any file type.


Typical systems have the user scan in the original paper document, and store the image of the document in the document management system. The image is often given a name containing the date and the user is often asked to type in additional "tags" in order to make finding the image easier. For instance, a user scanning in an invoice might want to tag it with "water, invoice, 1/1/2002". Slightly more advanced versions also perform an OCR on the image, storing the text along with the image. Although most OCR systems are notoriously inaccurate, even a few correct words scanned off the page can eliminate the need for the user to type in their own tags.

Once the document is stored, it is typically retrieved using an application that is aware of the way the tags (or scanned text) and image are related. That way when you search for "invoice", opening the document will in fact open the original image.

Document imaging systems can save a tremendous amount of time, even in cases with small numbers of documents, like home bill payment or personal tax preparation. It is somewhat odd that they aren't more widely used, but some of this is likely the fault of the scanning step. Many systems include their own high-speed black and white scanner to make this step as easy as possible, and others provide methods of working with 3rd party scanning software.


Document life-cycle management and tracking are features of some Document Management and Electronic Document Management systems. The lifecycle of a document represents the full history of that document, from when it was first created to when it is destroyed (although some modern systems do not destroy any documents). Lifecycle management refers to the tools and processes necessary for manipulating and using documents in each stage of the lifecycle. Lifecycle tracking is the process of keeping a detailed audit trail of all actions that use the document. This usually includes when the document is revised, approved or published.


Computerized management of electronic as well as paper-based documents. Document management systems generally include a database system to organized stored documents and a search mechanism to quickly find specific documents.

Document Imaging and Electronic Document Management are both forms of Document Management.


Storing electronic documents is somewhat different from standard Document Management but follows the same principle. Here, every kind of internal documentation (typically a company or corporation) is both written and stored electronically. Printed copies of documents need not even be produced, and documents may optionally be electronically signed.

Electronic document management systems typically include a workflow model for certifying and electronically signing documents.

Electronic document management systems can be extended to support requirements under the HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996) and Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 by addition of digital rights management controls including real-time network/application/file monitoring and policy control. This gives auditors, administrators and directors documented evidence of internal controls that communicate, store, and protect documents and allows unalterable logs or databases of who has accessed which pieces of information, where and when. It also gives fine-grained control of who can access, view, print or forward any particular document or group of documents.


ECM is a widely-recognized IT-industry term for software technology that enables organizations to create/capture, manage/secure, store/retain/destroy, publish/distribute, search, personalize, and present/view/print any digital content (e.g. pictures/images, text, reports, video, audio, transactional data, catalog, code). ECM systems primarily focus on the capture, storage, retrieval, and dissemination of digital files for enteprise use and their life-cycle management.

ECM systems typically include standard features of Document Management, Electronic Document Management, Document Imaging and Content Management.


See Enterprise Web Portal


In the early 2000s, a major industry shift in web portal focus has been the corporate intranet portal, or "enterprise web" designed to provide organization-specific information and online services. Some features of enterprise portals are:

  • Single touch point - the portal becomes the delivery mechanism for all business information services.

  • Collaboration - portal members can communicate synchronously (through chat, or messaging) or asynchronously through threaded discussion and email digests (forums) and blogs.

  • Content and document management - services that support the full life cycle of document creation and provides mechanisms for authoring, approval, revision control, scheduled publishing, indexing and searching.

  • Personalization - the ability for portal members to subscribe to specific types of content and services. Users can customize the look and feel of their environment.

  • Integration - the connection of functions and data from multiple systems into new components.


Full text indexing is the process of scanning documents that are part of a Document Management or Electronic Document Management System and generating a complete index or concordance of searchable terms in a way that is optimized for key word searching.

For each word (excepting stop words which are too common to be useful) an entry is made which lists the exact position of every occurrence of it within the database of documents.

Indexing is a necessary process in order to provide Full Text Search capability for users.


Full text search is a technique for searching a computer-stored text document based on its entire contents.

Full-text searching techniques became common around the middle of the 1970s. Prior to that, document retrieval was typically done by having a researcher assign keywords to a piece of text which represented its subject. Documents could be retrieved using boolean combinations (e.g. ("encyclopedia" AND "online") NOT "encarta"). Such a mechanism had limitations, particularly in that it relied on indexers, a skilled and time-consuming task.

Full text searching was expected to get around this, in that the entire text of a document could be stored for retrieval. In theory any document which mentioned the word(s) the searcher was interested in would be retrieved, bypassing the indexing process and making for more complete retrieval. In practice there were difficulties. Primarily a document might mention a search-word in passing in a way that was tangential to its subject, and be retrieved along with documents that were really relevant. Full-text searching is also open to the problem where a document might use a different word to describe a concept from the one used by the searcher.


Allows data from one device or software application to be read or manipulated by another, resulting in ease of use. (Wikipedia, 2006)


Also known as "Version Control" or "Versioning." Revision control is an aspect of documentation control wherein changes to documents are identified by incrementing an associated number or letter code, termed the "revision level", or simply "revision". It has been a standard practice in the maintenance of engineering drawings for as long as the generation of such drawings has been formalized. A simple form of revision control, for example, has the initial issue of a drawing assigned the revision level "A". When the first change is made, the revision level is changed to "B" and so on.


A form of Content Management System that is specifically designed to manage the collaborative process of creating and publishing content to a web site.


See Full Text Indexing


A web portal is a web site that provides a starting point, a gateway, or portal, to other resources on the Internet or an intranet. Intranet portals are also known as "enterprise information portals" (EIP).


Workflow is the operational aspect of a work procedure: how tasks are structured, who performs them, what their relative order is, how they are synchronized, how information flows to support the tasks and how tasks are being tracked. Workflow typically incorporates an approval system and stores auditing information for the all procedures.

While the concept of workflow is not specific to information technology, support for workflow is an integral part of groupware software.

Definitions provided (in part) by Wikipedia and