CMb 2004-04

Definition of information management terms

Written by , published February 5th, 2004

Categorised under: articles, content management, document & records management, information management

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.

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  1. martha asabea asamoa commented on October 21st, 2008

    Well done James for a tremendous work done, keep it up.
    I see this masterpiece as an excellent presentation because this is part of my studies and i have really benefited.
    I am a 2ND year student of the University of Ghana offering
    Information studies-information management and appreciate it if i see more of this which i think would help me upgrade my studies. Thank you very much and hope to hear from you soon. Bye.

  2. With respect to your definition of Digital Asset Management, I’d also offer the following update:

    “In DAM, a piece of content does not become an asset until it has been classified, indexed, versioned, secured, stored, possibly reformatted or canonicalized in some way, and (typically) assigned a lifecycle state, a unique ID, and an owner. These are the things that make a piece of content an asset.

    Key to making it all work is metadata, or information about the content. Simply put, content + metadata = an asset. A digital asset management system provides a secure repository that facilitates the creation, management, organization, production, distribution, and potentially, monetization of media files identified as digital assets”. (source: CMS Watch, ‘The Digital & Media Asset Management Report 2008’).

    FYI, Media Equation has a DAM and Digital Rights Management product which is in productive use with over 65 customers.

    Happy to discuss this with you.

    Charles Rignall

  3. Eveliene Ward commented on January 19th, 2009

    Hi James,

    This has cleared up most of my confusion.
    I was hoping to also find a definition of an Information Management System IMS in this article. Is it the same as a CMS?

    Eveliene Ward

  4. shubstar commented on March 12th, 2009

    This really helped.. thank you

  5. juma commented on May 13th, 2009

    thanks alot,

    I am one of college student in asia,
    Can you pleas send me the gentar difinatin of informatinal resources

  6. juma commented on May 13th, 2009

    but i coureouses in this article b/c it is very long i cant get concept from it

  7. Benz commented on March 16th, 2010

    thank you so much Robert, I needed this for my Information Management article….

  8. Thanks for the list James.

    I’m just wondering, do we really need that many systems? For example, why can’t images, documents, music and videos be all managed together in one system? Or it will just make the systems unusable due to the complexity?

3 Trackbacks

  1. By what is information management « Infosmart4's Blog on October 26, 2010 at 4:20 am

    […] (For a brief overview of many of these systems, see the earlier article Definition of information management terms.) […]

  2. […] related to knowledge management and content management are well captured in James Robertson’s definitions of information management terms. […]

  3. […] (For a brief overview of many of these systems, see the earlier article Definition of information management terms.) […]