Definition of information management terms

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There is considerable confusion in the marketplace regarding the definition of various information management terms. The scope and role of specific information systems is particularly blurry, in part caused by the lack of consensus between vendors.

With the aim of lessening this confusion, this briefing provides an at-a-glance definition of terms for a range of information systems.

Content management system (CMS)

Content management systems support the creation, management, distribution, publishing, and discovery of corporate information. Also known as ‘web content management’ (WCM), these systems typically focus on online content targeted at either a corporate website or intranet.

Enterprise content management system (ECMS)

An enterprise content management system consists of a core web content management system, with additional capabilities to manage a broader range of organisational information. This often consists of document management, records management, digital asset management or collaboration features.

Document management system (DMS)

Document management systems are designed to assist organisations to manage the creation and flow of documents through the provision of a centralised repository, and workflow that encapsulates business rules and metadata. The focus of a DMS is primarily on the storage and retrieval of self-contained electronic resources, in their native (original) format.

Records management system (RMS)

The Australian Standard on Records Management (AS 4390) defines recordkeeping systems as ‘information systems which capture, maintain and provide access to records over time’. This includes managing both physical (paper) records and electronic documents.

Digital asset management (DAM) system

Digital asset management (DAM) systems support the storage, retrieval and reuse of digital objects within an organisation. DAM differs from document management and content management in its focus on multimedia resources, such as images, video and audio. DAM also typically provides rights management capabilities.

Brand management system

Brand management systems are specific applications of the more general DAM category of products to the management of advertising and promotional materials.

Library management system (LMS)

Library management systems provide a complete solution for the administration all of a library’s technical functions and services to the public. This ranges from tracking the assets held by the library, managing lending, through to supporting the daily administrative activities of the library.

Digital imaging system

Digital imaging systems automate the creation of electronic versions of paper documents (such as PDFs or TIFFs) and are used as an input to records management systems. By creating electronic resources, they can be manipulated directly by the records system, eliminating the need for physical filing.

Learning management system (LMS)

Learning management systems automate the administration of training and other learning. This includes registering students, managing training resources, recording results, and general course administration. Learning management systems are designed to meet the entire needs of professional trainers and other educators.

Learning content management system (LCMS)

Learning content management systems combine the capabilities of a content management system (CMS) with that of a learning management system (LMS). This allows them to manage both the content of the training materials, and the administration of the course itself.

Geographic information system (GIS)

Geographic information systems (GIS) are special purpose, computer-based systems for the capture, storage, retrieval, analysis and display of spatial (location-referenced) data.

James Robertson
James Robertson is the Managing Director of Step Two, the global thought leaders on intranets, headquartered in Sydney, Australia. James is the author of the best-selling books Essential intranets, Designing intranets and What every intranet team should know. He has keynoted conferences around the globe. (Follow him on Twitter or find him on Google+)