Indexing documents means assigning attributes to documents that display the content. It is one of the core functions within document and record management systems. After all, without characteristics it is impossible to find a document again.

The process of indexing documents is also known as document indexation.

Automate document indexation

Assigned document attributes are called document index values. Other descriptions that are applied are tags or labels. Document index values are covered by the metadata, along with the technical characteristics that document and record man agent systems assign to documents.

Documents can be indexed in different ways. In the simplest form, this is done manually, but there are many possibilities to automate the indexing process:

  • For example, scanned documents use recognition techniques, such as barcode recognition, Optical Character Recognition (OCR) and Quick Response (QR) code recognition. These techniques read data from scanned documents and automatically record them as document attributes.
  • In the case of digital documents, automatic index extraction is often applied. The attributes are taken from the content, file names, or from accompanying index files and recorded.

Index documents efficiently

The use of the correct index values can be monitored in a good document and record management system by the following techniques:

  • Fixed value lists/keyword list/library functions: For each index, the values are allowed in advance. These values are shown in an overview that a user can consult. Such statements prevent users from using different words for the same attribute.
  • Validation: Document indices can be provided with properties that enforce the correct data to be entered, such as a date, numeric, or alphanumeric field.
  • Linked indexes: The values of different document indexes are linked, allowing only relevant attributes to be filled in.
  • Enrichment: Based on an entered document index value, additional attributes are automatically retrieved and recorded in a document. For example, when entering a customer number, the customer name is automatically retrieved and recorded. This often uses links with external systems.

Indexing documents is also possible based on the entire content. In this case, documents Full Text can be searched and searched for every word and number contained in them.

Flexible search results

In the presentation of search results within document and record management systems, document indexes also play an important role. The attributes can be used to create a structure. Unlike the Windows Explorer, this structure can be flexible. Different users can place documents in different perspectives based on the same attributes.

Monitor document index values processes

Finally, document index values can play an important role in monitoring processes. The presence or absence of certain documents can be detected automatically. As soon as a date attribute of a document expires, notifications can be automatically generated so that the responsible employee(s) can take action.

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