What is Document Indexing?

The Key to Unlocking Process Efficiency for Your Organization

Document indexing is the process of associating or tagging documents with different “search” terms. If we go back to the example we’ve been using about invoice document management, there are a number of ways we might want to search for an invoice:

  • Invoice number
  • Vendor name
  • Purchase order number
  • Or maybe even what was bought

However, every organization is different; you might need to search by date or department. The point is that indexing is a path to the documents. That path is based upon your business processes and your staff.

There are also different types of indexes. If your documents are text documents, you might have indexed the documents for full text search where you can find a phrase contained in the documents. All document management systems have some level of system indexing too. Default system indexing might be the date or document type or some other identifier that describes the document. In our example we’ve been using an invoice, we might search for invoice number. Or we might have given the document a document type of “invoice” so we can search on all invoices.

No matter what indexes we use, the power of document indexing is revealed when we do a search later on. Remember in our example where there was a problem with an invoice? Now imagine that the invoice and all associated documents were related via a sales order number so that when we searched for the invoice in the system all the related documents also were immediately available.

Setting up the indexes is one of the key factors in having a successful document management implementation. At the end of this section, we will discuss all the keys needed for success. For now let’s focus on the next step which is document storage and retrieval.


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