Document management and cattaDoc

cattaDoc is not yet another CMS package. cattaDoc is not about content management. So what is cattaDoc?

Document management in its broad sense can be divided into four main categories:

  1. Document Imaging
  2. Electronic Records Management - or ERM
  3. Integrated Document Management - or IDM
  4. Web Content Management - WCM

Document management categories and cattaDoc


Document Imaging is where digital document management began. Imaging is about capturing paper documents in digital form. Imaging is about scanning and OCR - optical character recognition.

Imaging handles and assumes documents in a static form, ie. the final result. Imaging does not capture the document creation process.

Today, imaging is declining in importance and as an element in document management. Because today all documents are born in digital form and most of them are also available in digital form.

cattaDoc is not about imaging. cattaDoc assumes that documents are available in digital form. Still today, imaging is necessary on many occasions, but you have to do scanning and - if you need it - OCR outside of cattaDoc.

You can register and import the results of an imaging process in cattaDoc. You can also register paper documents - ie. without imaging - in cattaDoc.


Electronic Records Management - or ERM, as the English abbreviation is - is the most recent document management category. At least in the English-speaking world. In Denmark, where I come from, ERM has been the core of digital document management for many years. In many instances, especially in the public sector, the only digital form of document management.

ERM is about documentation of documents. ERM is about document metadata. ERM is about establishing traceability. ERM is about compliance, quality assurance etc.

In Danish, we have a word for this, "journalisering". It has been used for a long time in the public sector and was the first topic to be subject for digitalisation. As far as I know, "Electronic Records Management" is the first example of an English concept trying to capture the same meaning as the Danish "journalisering", although - as I understand it - its origin and focus is the private sector with requirements for compliance.

You will have most of ERM for free if you use cattaDoc. It is built into cattaDoc. But you may have to adapt cattaDoc to your document processes if the default processes doesn't cover your needs. See the default cattaDoc process flows for documents and for projects - and how you adapt them to your needs under Configuration.

At present, cattaDoc is missing one element often found in ERM systems: Categorisation, typically of projects. Ie. relating projects to one or more meta categories, like industry, technology etc.


Integrated Document Management - or IDM - embraces the core document processes and are also more and more often used to describe all digital document processes, including imaging, ERM and WCM.

In its more narrow sense, IDM is about the document creation process - from plan, through draft and review to the final result. IDM is also about the continued life of the document - keeping track of appendices, responses, receivers etc. IDM is about the dynamic document.

IDM contains three main elements:

  1. Search facilities
  2. Library functions
    • Version management
    • Check-out / check-in
    • Security
    • History
  3. Process flows - or Workflows

Good search facilities are vital for IDM and is often the main reason for adopting a document management system. You have to be able to quickly find your documents, irrespective of your point of departure - be it a given project, a given receiver, a given document type or any combination of these or other criteria. This kind of search is based on the structured information you register about your documents, typically in a database. This is core functionality in cattaDoc.

Many people also stress the need for search based on unstructured information, ie. for all the information (words) contained in documents through document free-text or full-text search.

Full-text search is built into cattaDoc from version 5, for these document formats:

  • PDF documents
  • Newer Microsoft Word documents (.docx)
  • Older Microsoft Word documents (.doc)
  • OpenOffice/LibreOffice documents (.odt)
  • HTML documents
  • Plain text documents

Library functions
Library functions are about your daily management functions in relation to your documents. You have to keep track of the various versions of a document - which is the most recent, which have been sent etc. You have to be able to lock a document which is currently being worked on - and only allow the responsible person to check it in again. You often have to restrict access to certain documents for certain users. And you have to keep track of what happened to a given document - the document events - and who did it.

All library functions are fully available in cattaDoc.

Process flows
Most companies and organisations have well-defined processes and procedures for handling documents. What to be done when receiving a document. Who can sign and send out documents. Review requirements for outgoing documents - sometimes different requirements depending on document types. Etc. With an IDM system like cattaDoc you can:

  • guide the users through these processes
  • making sure that the users follow the procedures
  • and by doing so, documenting the processes
  • and be able to take actions on those who do not follow the procedures

cattaDoc supports document process flows through a state-transition paradigm - look for more about this in the document on document business processes.


Content Management Systems - or CMS - became very hot in 2001 as a way of handling and administering the increasing number of web sites. CMS are tools for maintaining web sites without requiring a lot of knowledge in HTML or web publishing.

cattaDoc is not a CMS package. cattaDoc has no web content management facilities - except for those which are an integral part of IDM, like version control and check-out/check-in.


To summarise from the above categorisation of document management, cattaDoc is a system for Integrated Document Management (IDM), including the main facilities for Electronic Records Management (ERM).


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Revised: 2020-05-19