Document Classification and Metadata Capture

The capture of Metadata (tagging), when storing electronic documents creates intelligent database mining when information is needed.  Document search results become consist and relevant saving time and  generating useful business knowledge.  Document management software must have a powerful and automated way to capture metadata.

Using metadata

The FileHold software Library is used to centrally manage a pre-defined vocabulary ensuring that documents are tagged (classified) in a meaningful way when added or checked into the software. Building and managing this controlled vocabulary is essential in the process of implementing the Paperless Office.

FileHold software ensures compliance with the organization's business tasks, processes and regulatory requirements. The Library Administrator can quickly add or edit customized tagging definitions for each type of document to be stored. Example document types include; contracts, purchase orders, engineering documents or whatever type is required by the business to track.

Metadata fields are then created and associated with different types of documents. It is these metadata fields that users will use when tagging a document they are adding or checking into the system. For example the Library Administrator may define the 'Contract' document type to have 'Contract Number' and 'Customer Name' metadata fields associated with it. When users add a document to the FileHold library they will be prompted to select the document type they are adding. If they select 'Contract' they will be prompted to tag the document by adding values for the Contract Number and Customer Name metadata fields.

Metadata fields can be of various types each with a unique set of easy to customize properties associated with it. Supported field types include;

  1. Text fields (single or multi-line)Date Fields that provide a convenient Calendar control to easily select a date/time
  2. Numeric field
  3. Currency field
  4. Checkbox fields (Yes/No)
  5. Single or multi-select pick lists either managed as a local list or retrieved from an external 3rd party database (new)

Guaranteed metadata capture

As new documents are added, the user is prompted to classify the file using required metadata fields as defined by the controlled vocabulary, metadata menus and text fields. This approach ensures that the mandatory amount of metadata is captured for each document or record in the library. Library Administrators can define optional fields as well as the required fields. Individual metadata schemes can be secured to individual or multiple system groups so that users only have to work with the metadata that pertains to their area of expertise, or department or organizational unit.

External database look up of metadata

FileHold software provides the ability for the library administrator to add pick list metadata fields whose values are automatically populated by items retrieved from an external database. These menu items can then be quickly associated with documents as metadata when documents are being added or versioned in the library. For example a metadata field called 'Customer Name' could be added to invoice documents stored in FileHold. When users are adding invoice documents to the FileHold library, users will be able to select from a list of customer names that are looked up from a table in a 3rd party SQL database.

Managing metadata pick lists

FileHold software allows Library Managers to define and manage a pick list that users can select from when tagging documents. For example a 'Products' pick list can be created that manages a listing of all products sold by the company. The pick list can then associated with any different document types in the system (e.g. engineering and marketing documents). Now anytime a user adds an engineering or marketing document they can quickly tag the document by selecting a product name from the products pick list. Here are the features of the FileHold pick lists;

  • The values in the pick lists can be managed centrally or can be retrieved from a third party data source.
  • Pick lists can be associated with any number of different document types and can allow users to pick one or allow many selections when meta-tagging documents.
  • Pick lists dramatically reduce the time it takes for a user to tag a document while ensuring that metadata is kept consistent (normalized). This avoids the situation with text only tags where - for example - users misspell a company name 4 different ways when tagging documents.

Document filing control

FileHold Library Administrators have central control of the structure and the user authorization rights to each area of the library. By managing the first two levels of the document filing structure (cabinets and drawers), Library Administrators can force users to store documents in appropriate areas of the library. This controlled filing approach ensures that users can easily browse for documents that are stored in a logical and efficient fashion.

Setting naming standards

Users can set document naming standards which allows for the quick creation and adherence to your organizations document and record naming conventions. As documents are added to the library they are automatically renamed according to the naming conventions or policies that library administrators define.

Defining metadata

Tags associated with documents act like library cards helping users to compare and retrieve documents without opening the actual file.

Defining a document tagging or metadata vocabulary requires an understanding of different types of documents the company needs to manage and the essential information associated with each document type. The task of managing a tagging vocabulary is usually the Document Librarian or Library Administrator (in larger organizations) or business/ department managers in smaller companies.

For example, many financial departments use FileHold to track invoices, purchase orders and checks. Each one of these document types has a unique tagging profile associated with it. An Invoice document profile may contain invoice amount, invoice date, product name(s) and customer name.

Some tagging (metadata) elements are common to many document types. For example, the Customer name tag is typically common to invoices, purchase orders and checks profiles.

Document management software must allow for the creation of a tagging vocabulary framework that allows for different types of documents, each with their own tagging profile. The system should be flexible enough to allow tagging to occur quickly by end users and should support; 

  • Tags that users complete by entering a text, numeric, currency or date value.

  • Pick from a list of pre-defined values. For example, a pick list may contain a pre-defined list of company products, customer names or company departments.

  • The ability to set individual fields as required to be completed when tagging a document as a user is adding a document, thus ensuring a minimum information requirement are captured. For example when adding an invoice document, users must tag the document with an invoice number and have the option of tagging the document with the invoice date.

  • Ability to define tags across different types of documents. For example the customer name tags can be used for the invoices, purchase orders and checks document types.

  • Ability to tag documents en-masse with the same value. For example, users are able to associate a customer name tag value to a group of 20 invoices at the same time.

The size of the organization and the volume of documents should dictate how granular the library administrator should make each document type. A company with relatively few financial transactions per month may have a document type called 'Sales & Billing Documents'. Within this type a pick list may be defined further classifying this document to be a invoice, check or purchase order. Conversely, a company that conducts thousands of financial transactions a month would create separate document types to track for invoices, checks and purchase orders. Each of these would have their own document tagging profiles.