Document management should be mentioned in any discussion about content management systems, even though it is often overlooked among other CMS products like blogs, e-commerce, and websites. The reason document management often gets overlooked in the conversation is that open source CMSs don’t offer as much in the way of document management as do other commercial and open source services. But, as will be discussed below, open source CMSs offer some level of document management services and the amount of services they do offer is likely to grow.
CMSs that deal with document management are often called ECMs or Enterprise Content Management systems. Prior to the widespread use of computers, electronic documents, and data, companies and individuals had content management systems for their physical documents, photos, and files.
As offices have digitized over the past 20 or more years, CMSs have evolved to organize and streamline numerous aspects of document management. CMSs and ECMs can now: handle document management functions that range from capturing, storing, retrieving, and distributing documents, images, emails and faxes, to performing other valuable services, such as tracking these data by date, extracting text, keyword locating, publishing and securing these data, with the list of functions going on and on.
The biggest names in document management come from larger companies like Microsoft (SharePoint) and Oracle, but there are some open source ECMs – Alfresco notable among them – that offer a wide range of document management functions. Cloud computing is also expected to allow for easy document management in the future.
Popular open source CMSs like WordPress and Drupal offer different forms of document management. Modules within these CMSs allow for various document management functions.
Joomla! offers document management functionality as well. At the bottom of this post you’ll find a video demonstrating how to use Joomla! to load and share .pdf files. With several open source communities working on similar efforts to manage and share files, open source CMSs should offer more document management functions in the future.