Document Numbering and Versioning in Document Management Software
The document management software provides customers with many options for document numbering and version control. The most common numbering requirements are based on historical work methodologies, specific industry requirements and compliance standards.
The software has a very flexible and user configurable design to accommodate different industries that have different requirements for numbering schemes. The purpose of this white paper is to help describe all the ways the document management software can help solve the business problem of uniquely numbering and Versioning documents.
In addition to the formal numbering / Versioning solutions the software provides there is near infinite numbering / Versioning possibilities using metadata fields. Metadata fields are flexible, controllable and searchable to allow users to create numbering schemes they may require. One possible use of metadata field numbering would be to store unique document numbers that might have been inherited from a legacy document management or even paper based filing system. By replicating these numbers in the document management software metadata fields, users can continue to search and find their documents based on the numbering scheme from a previous system.
Using the the software's reporting services (based on SQL Reporting Services) all metadata fields are reportable so there is unlimited flexibility to generate reports based on any custom numbering systems a customer may wish to develop.
The following is a brief description of each of the document number or version control schemes the software provides as standard “out of the box” features.
Document Numbering - Document ID - Unique System Generated Number for Every Document
The document management software automatically assigns a unique number to every single document that is added to FileHold. This number called the FileHold ID Number, it can not be edited by users and is never duplicated in the system. This document numbering can not be turned off. This unique document number is a simple sequential number that starts at number 1 and grows sequential with every new document added to FileHold. In the case of a different version of the same document the number is incremented by a decimal number to indicate a new version. (i.e. A new document added to FileHold may get number 403. If that document is checked out and changed and than checked back in it would get the unique number 403.1. If it is checked out and changed again it would be numbered 403.2 and so forth).
By using the optional Brava viewer that provides print and annotation features, this number can be added to the document electronically and even printed on the document (the location for the printing can be selected using the Brava water mark and annotation features).
Version Control - System Generated Document Version Control Number
Version control is one of the most critical elements of a document management system because it ensure users always have access to the most current version of a company document. This feature alone can cost justify the implementation of a document management system as it eliminates duplication of work and allows users to share the most current information on matters such as company policies or contracts.
Every time a document is checked out from FileHold using a standard web browser, Microsoft Office applications or using the FileHold Desktop application it becomes a candidate for automatic version control. Version control allows managers to track the history of a document as it evolves, it records the date when the version was changed and by whom. The actual version numbering system starts at version #1 and is incremented by 1 number each time the document is changed and is checked back in.
Version control prevents documents from being overwritten or deleted as documents are updated by more than one party. All versions of the file are maintained by the system in the event that a rollback is required.
Document Numbering - Document Control Numbering
Some customers (especially engineering companies) work with large and complex documents that are tightly controlled. These customers like to assign a specific number to a document and use it throughout its lifecycle, this is what FileHold calls a document control number.
Document control number Fields are created and modified in the Library Administration section of FileHold therefore the creators must have at least Library administration rights. Once a document control number schema is created users can create new document and a new and unique document control number will be automatically allocated. Once a document number field is assigned to a schema and documents are created using this schema parameters cannot be modified.
There are two ways to generate document control numbers:
They can be auto-generated by the FileHold System.
Entered manually by the user
In either case, the software will ensure that the control number is unique to the document. When used, document control numbers are mandatory. Control numbers must be assigned to a document when it’s added to the software and are unable to be modified later.
If the document control field is auto-generated, the value is not displayed when adding the document. To avoid the possibility that two users might be creating a new document control number at the same time the number is only created and viewed after the document has been added to the library.
Each document control field has a prefix which must be different from all other prefixes. This ensures that each document control number is unique across the entire library. Auto-generated document control numbers use consecutive numeric values starting from a given initial value and a given number of digits. Manually edited numbers can be any alphanumeric strings with a given maximum length.
Once a document control has been added, FileHold will check through the entire library to ensure this number is not duplicated on any other document.
This document control number can be added to the document and optionally printed using the Brava mark up and annotation features.
Version Control - Manual Document Version Control Numbers
In addition to the FileHold automatic version control the software has a feature to allow users to manually generate and control more sophisticated version schemes that reflect the real world of major and minor releases in document Versioning (i.e. A more complex version Control number would be 6.02.001).
The version control capability is turned on by the library administrator when creating schemas for documents that might require manual Versioning.
Versions control numbers are not mandatory. They can be assigned when adding a document or checking in a document and can be modified, separately for each document version, at any time. By default the version number is carried over from the last version when document is checked in. Version numbers don’t have to be unique. A version control field can have an optional prefix, but it doesn’t have to be unique.
Version control numbers can be printed on documents using the optional Brava viewer capabilities.
Bates numbering is very different from document numbering or Versioning in that it provides a unique identification of every page of a document including pictures or images. This identification is most often used when documents are being handed from one agency to another and provides a way to check that 100% of the documents have been transferred. The unique numbering scheme is sometimes accompanied by further document identification text. Attorneys are the primary users of Bates-stamp utilities.
In FileHold the Bates numbering capability comes as a part of the Brava viewers that have been tightly integrated into the software. A Bates Number can be represented both as a prefix (document identification) and the page number with leading zeros that automatically increments with every page (i.e. A Bates number with text preceding the tag could be, Smith vs. Jones 00001. This would be being printed on the first page; Smith vs. Jones000002 printed on the second page, etc.).