Document Management Glossary

Document management is the process by which organizations manage documents from the point of creation to distribution and storage. It encompasses workflows that include your documents themselves, the protocols you’ve put in place to control them, and who gets to interact with them.

Businesses use different systems for managing documents including manual, paper-based methods, email and file shares, and electronic document management software. If you’re looking to better understand document control terminology or to invest in a document management software, this glossary and associated links will help strengthen your understanding of core quality and document management concepts.

Document Management TermDefinitionSynonyms
AcceptanceA required stage in the CAPA workflow signifying acceptance of the implemented solution and reported results. Approval at this stage moves the CAPA to the final stage, Verification.
Action ItemA specific task assigned to a user on specific content in the DMS.
Active Directory (AD)Active Directory is Microsoft's proprietary directory service which allows administrators to manage permissions and access to network resources.
AdministratorUser responsible for making changes to the structure and usage of your DMS system.
AnalysisA required early stage in the CAPA workflow for analysis and evaluation of the CAPA.
ApprovalA required action taken on content in its life cycle signaling acceptance of the content. This action moves it on to the next stage in the workflow if all business rules have been met.
ArchivedA status or stage in the document life cycle signaling obsolesence or retirement of the content.Obsolete
AttributeA way to categorize content, to be able to have other users view, search and export data associated with the content.
Audit TrailA record of each action taken on a content record in a DMS showing who took the action and when.Logged actions taken, Audit Log
Auto-codeA system generated document number or ID set at the content type level in a DMS.
Auto-numberAutomatic coding of content based on the configured coding scheme of the system content type used in a DMS.
AzureA Single Sign on Provider. Allows users to sign into the Single Sign On Provider and then be automatically logged into linked services.
BatchA bulk update applied to 2 or more pieces of content.
Bill of material (BOM)A collection of related specifications used in a DMS to capture Quantity and Unit of Measure for children and/or subordinates.
BinderA virtual three ring binder in a DMS for grouping related content and controlling versioning.
CAPACorrective Action/Preventive Action workflow in a DMS to effect corrective or preventive changes.
Change Order (CO)A workflow for approving changes with linked items and the ability to cascade approval to those linked items within the DMS.DCO (Document change order)
Change RequestA content type within a DMS used to request approval for a change.
Check in/Check outA feature in a DMS that ensures documents can only be edited by a single user at a time by way of checking a document out to edit it, and checking it back in once work is complete. When the document is checked out, other users will have viewing access to the current latest version.
ChildThe non-dominant link in a document link relationship, reliant on the designated parent document.
CloseA stage in the Incident and CAPA lifecycles signifying the last stage in the workflow. Once Closed a CAPA cannot be reopened but an Incident can be reopened.
Cloud softwareThe document management software is hosted on the vendor's server and accessed via a web browser.Cloud-hosted, in the cloud
CodeThe unique identifier for individual content within a DMS system.document number, record number
ContentA file, document, form or record.
Content TypeA collection of behaviors that categorize your content for defining defaults in relation to the respective work flow, auto coding (numbering), periodic review intervals and other critical parameters within a DMS.
CreatorThe author or generator of the content within a DMS.
CurrentFully approved content in a DMS that is effective (in effect) and can be referenced by anyone with permission within the system.Effective, "in place",
DeferA stage only in the CAPA workflow which pauses the content, allowing it to be resumed at a later point in time.
DelegateA feature of Action Items allowing the task to be passed on to another user within the DMS.
DistributionNotification emails that notify stakeholders that an event has taken place on associated content or that there has been a status change within the DMS.notifications
DCSDocument Control SystemDocument Management System (DMS), ERMS (electronic record management system), Policy management system, ECM (enterprise content management),
eDMSElectronic Document Management SystemERMS (electronic record management system), Policy management system, ECM (enterprise content management), DCS (document control system)
DMSDocument Management SystemERMS (electronic record management system), Policy management system, ECM (enterprise content management), DCS (document control system)
Electronic signatureUsed within a DMS to digitally sign an acceptance or approval in accordance with FDA 21 CFR Part 11.Authorization, Verification
ExemptA training status signifying a user does not need to train on specific content within the DMS.
ExportA function allowing for the retrieval of either original or published content or form data from within the DMS.
Full-Text SearchFeature of a DMS that enables you to search the entire text of a document in the system to find a word or phrase.
HistoricContent in a DMS that is no longer current (in effect, in use, etc.) because it has been revised or manually made obsolete.
ImplementationA required stage in the CAPA workflow signifying the execution or application of the solution.
ImplementedA CAPA phase after Implementation but prior to being submitted for Acceptance. It signifies the execution of the agreed upon corrective/preventive action.
IncidentA life cycle in a DMS for managing collaborative issues, typically or often support or CAPA issues in a lightweight way.
InheritanceThe ability to bring forward data, content and metadata settings from one version of a document to another within a DMS.
LifecycleThe workflow and path of specific content.
MasterA document within a DMS which will allow for data to be pushed into a child document.
MetadataFields of information common to all content in the system; such as Creation Date, Creator, Review date etc.
MultiSiteAllows you to manage your content and use of a DMS by logical constructs called sites. “Sites” could be actual physical locations, different business units, different
cost centers, or even departments (i.e. R&D v. commercial).
Network sharesA folder on a server that is accessible from end user workstations.
OktaA Single Sign On (SSO) provider.
On-premise softwareOn-premise document management software is installed on your company’s local server behind your firewallLocal, on-site
OpenA stage of the Incident workflow when the incident is "open" and available to be worked on by its owners.
OverlayA configurable template in a DMS which can show metadata and static text on top of PDF content. An overlay is dynamically applied when a user downloads PDFs (published link, print controlled, etc). Encryption is also applied by default with varying security specified at the content type level.
ParentThe dominant link of a document linking relationship.
PDF (portable document format)A file format that provides an electronic image of text or text and graphics that looks like a printed document and can be viewed, printed, and electronically transmitted.
Periodic reviewA review of content performed in a DMS at a preconfigured interval by a content owner.
Print logA report of all print history for specific content.
PublishingA DMS feature allowing content to be pushed to an outside network share.
RejectThe opposite of "Approval" in a DMS, rejection returns the content to Draft status to be corrected and pushed back through the review/approval process.
ReviewThe optional phase in a DMS where collaboration can take place, the stage where, if allowed, the reviewer can modify, edit and provide feedback.
Revision Control (Version Control)A system that tracks the changes made to content and ensures the availability of the most up to date, approved and current version.
Revision HistoryComments entered into the audit record when a new version is created. In a DMS, this can be configured to be required before submittal for approval.
RoutingA DMS workflow configured either on individual content or at the content type level to send content through a life cycle; for example with Documents : Review and Approval.
SiteLogical constructs in a DMS signifying either a department, cost center, business unit, or physical location.
Software validationSoftware validation is the process of establishing documented evidence that confirms a computer system has been installed correctly, will meet users' needs and functions according to its intended use; a requirement of companies regulated by the FDA.
SQLStructured query language: a computer programming language used for database management.
SSOSingle sign on authentication such as Azure or Okta.
SubmitTo move content forward to the next life cycle stage by submitting it for review and or approval to those on the routing.
Supporting materialOutside content such as drawings, hyperlinks, videos documents etc. which can be associated to content within a DMS.
User groupA group of individuals with specific rights to specific folders in a DMS.
VerificationA required stage in the CAPA workflow signifying that what has been implemented has addressed the issue.
Windows ContentContent created in MS Office; either Word, Excel, Visio or Powerpoint.
WithdrawThe action of pulling content out of submission for review or approval within a DMS. This typically returns it to Draft status.
WorkflowThe lifecycle for content from creation to end.