Document Management: New Technologies for the Information Services Manager

Anne L. Barker (Department of Information and Library Studies, University of Wales, Aberystwyth)

Library Management

ISSN: 0143-5124

Article publication date: 1 March 2000




Barker, A.L. (2000), "Document Management: New Technologies for the Information Services Manager", Library Management, Vol. 21 No. 2, pp. 109-115.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2000, MCB UP Limited

Handling physical documentation is an onerous, expensive and time‐consuming business. Electronic document management systems (electronic imaging, automatic indexing, digital storage, ICT, networking and OCR) are put forward as the solution by the authors of this book. They see it as part of business process re‐engineering, automating work processes and optimising work flows, minimising or eliminating the need for forms processing and also addressing remittance processing, cheque processing, archiving, records management and information warehousing. However, as well as applying IT to work processes, they consider how and why operators and users need to be included in the design and implementation of change (“human dynamics”).

The book sets out to show how to manage documents in an electronic age and how the application of document management technologies can optimise the productivity of the work process, the approach taken to document management being set squarely in the commercial world, i.e. not libraries. Document management is defined as including the creation, modification, storage, processing and retrieval of documents to meet customers’ needs and objectives. It also includes managing work processes or workflow of both documents and business activities related to documents; workflow analysis requires an understanding of both customers’ needs and the cost of implementing the work process. The purpose of document management is to reduce costs, increase productivity and increase the value of information.

The intended audience for the book comprises information service managers and professionals and students in the information industry. This volume is one in a series on information services management, which seeks to address the need for management skills training in the information services community. Megill is senior staff systems analyst at Dynamics Research Corporation and was previously on the faculty of the School of Library and Information Science at the Catholic University of America in Washington, DC and director of its Information Resources Management Program. Schantz is founder and president of HLS Associates, a consultancy practice specialising in the application of OCR (optical character recognition) technologies and IT to automate business work processing, and document management applications. The authors describe their work as the product of collaboration between two very different professionals, one an engineer who has worked in the area of data input and character recognition, and the other a records manager. They see the book as a “primer”, designed to prime the reader’s interest to proceed and to give some guidance on how to do so. Occasionally, to the UK reader at least, their enthusiasm may seem to border on hype!

The book is divided into five parts: Documents; Enabling technologies; Workflow, costs, and benefits; Meeting user needs; and The future is now. Each part begins with an introduction and consists of several short chapters. The appendices include a glossary, a sample cost‐benefit analysis and a very useful guide to the design of electronic forms (reprinted from a guide produced by Mitek Systems, Inc.). There is an index, although random sampling of entries indicated some page number errors and references to mentions of topics in the text rather than fuller discussions. Some chapters carry a few references but there is no bibliography or reading list. The content is readable and at a suitable level to serve as an introduction or update on electronic document management for professionals and managers.

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