Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Content Management - Nine million ways to skin a cat. . .

Here is a something I posted on the Paperless Zone blog. . . Enjoy!

I'm often asked by customers, "How do I find my files on the computer after scanning?" I hate that question. Why? It's difficult to answer. Many customers want an answer right now and I have to explain to them that it depends on many factors such as server capacity, intranet structure, security, ease of use, cost, etc. There are so many ways to implement a content management solution. What works for one company may not for another. There are software solutions, appliance solutions, stand alone database solutions, database solutions requiring SQL, web portal solutions, portal dashboard solutions, and on and on and on. If you're an individual user or even a small business you don't need to implement the latest solution from Documentum costing thousands of dollars. Keep it simple; let's say you scanned in all of your tax returns into a PDF format from 1990 up till the present. Give each file the following name - taxes2004.pdf, taxes2003.pdf, etc. Remember to place these files in a folder called "Taxes" in your My Documents directory on your PC. "Well that's obvious!" Of course it is, but it is a "content management solution" that will work and does work for most people. We're just getting started. Let's say you want to search for documents by key words. That's simple, Microsoft and Google both offer desktop search tools for the PC and both are free. Macs already have a search tool built into it's operating system. Desktop search tools allow you to search for files within seconds because the search tool idexes all the files (or folders you specify) on your hard drive. Simply type in a key word(s) or phrase and the search tool will find all files containing the word(s) and/or phrase. You can also filter your search results. If you really want to be slick, you can OCR the documents you scan in and the OCR text associated with these scanned images will be indexed by the search tool. Want to find all documents from your scanned and OCR files containing the word "baseball"; just type in baseball and a list of documents will be displayed. Remember, OCR conversions are not 100% accurate so some words may be missed during the conversion.

Good luck!

Sean Martin, Twin Imaging Technology, Inc.

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