DMS, EMDS, AMS or maybe RMS – the quest for correct title

Most of the times I refer to Papermerge as “application which manages scanned documents”. It is natural term to use, because this is exactly what Papermerge focuses on. However, term scanned documents can be misleading, because the Papermerge is very useful even if you don’t have a scanner or never scanned a document in your life. Why? It is because PDF (Portable Document Format), the ubiquitous document format is actually synonym for scanned paper. Most of the modern scanner will output their scans in PDF format.

PDF and Papermerge

Because close relation between PDF documents and scanners – Papermerge is designed to work well with PDF format, which means basically that most of the modern digital invoices, bills and receipts are natural part of Papermerge. In fact, 90% of all my personal documents I store with Papermerge are in PDF format – in that sense, Papermerge is a document management system – because it manages PDF files and PDF are…well, documents. Because of this association PDF management = document management system, I started to add “DMS” part to. But again, that is not entirely correct.

Quote from wikipedia:

A document management system (DMS) is a system used to receive, track, manage and store documents and reduce paper. Most are capable of keeping a record of the various versions created and modified by different users (history tracking). In the case of the management of digital documents such systems are based on computer programs

Wikipedia – Document Management system

According to wikipedia’s definition Papermerge 100% qualifies to hold DMS titles (by the way, in version 2.0, Document versioning is introduced, but about that in another article).

A little bit of research revealed the fact that term DMS is often interchangeably used with EDMS, where E part stands for either Electronic or for Enterprise. To keep naming short simple I drop always the E part.

Archives, Records and PDF Documents

An organization’s records preserve aspects of institutional memory. In determining how long to retain records, their capacity for re-use is important. Many are kept as evidence of activities, transactions, and decisions. Others document what happened and why.

If you are not confused so far, consider following: the professionally correct term for “long term stored documents which do not change” is “record”. Here is a human understandable definition of record management

An organization’s records preserve aspects of institutional memory. In determining how long to retain records, their capacity for re-use is important. Many are kept as evidence of activities, transactions, and decisions. Others document what happened and why.

Wikipedia – Record Management

Record Management System (RMS) and somehow related Archive Management System (AMS) would be two closest to describe what actually Papermerge is. But rarely add those tiles to Papermege. Why ? Because they are correct, but confusing or rarely known to persons who are not field professionals. Thus I choose to use term DMS which although somehow generic is practical enough.

Summary

There many terms to describe applications which store and manage documents. Some terms are too generic, others are confusing or maybe too “professional”. All abbreviated titles mentioned above partially apply to what Papermerge was designed for, however most of the times the title DMS is practical and descriptive enough to be used.