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1.1 Background of the study

Information management has become a major strategic factor in companies’ development. It is important to get the right information circulated to the right people, as efficiently as possible, yet still keep it secure. Document management provides a way for companies to organize their information, in all its forms, in one place. Streamlining business processes and increasing efficiency are fundamental concerns for any organization regardless of size or sector. In today’s ever increasingly strict regulating environment, compliantly managing documents and records of all types takes significant time and money that could better be spent on achieving mission critical objectives. By implementing a document management system, organizations can realize many benefits that noticeably improve organizational efficiency.

Digital document management system can help an organization succeed by; Saving time, Saving money, Increasing efficiency, Increasing productivity, Increasing inter-departmental and inter-organizational communication, and Enabling automation.

A Document Management System (DMS) is a system based on computer programs used to store and access documents.

Electronic document management solutions are designed to organize business files and records digitally, whether they started out in paper form or were generated by software applications.

Paper files are first converted to electronic format by scanning. This provides a more compact means of storage, universal access for retrieval, and higher levels of data security and privacy.

A company-wide document management system also controls digital files that are generated directly through applications -- such as those in the Microsoft Office suite (Word, Excel and PowerPoint), accounting software, CAD, email, and so on. Managing (rather than simply storing) documents enables quicker access to, and greater command over, business information.

1.2  Statement of the Problem

It has become widely recognized that manual paper-based  processing has inherent problems that disadvantage companies in critical ways, undermining productivity and impeding the flow of information. Ignoring the problem is proving less and less an option in the current economic and competitive climate. Looking at the department of computer science, University of Port Harcourt as a case study, students submit hard copies of document as a means of making requests, Memos are sent to the department in paper form which degenerates to bulk of files in the offices. This system of storing documents is tedious, complicated and time consuming.

Faced with the need to organize documents, the proposed system for management of documents is unique and totally innovative in its integrated approach. Its functionality of making documents available anytime, anywhere and enabling easy access, retrieval and storage of documents makes it called for.

The system to be developed makes use of rich internet technology to replace desktop application with web application running on a remote server. The system shares the advantage of both web application and desktop application, and removes the most disadvantages of both.

1.3  Aim and Objectives of the Study

The aim of the project is to develop a document management system for the department of computer science, University of Port Harcourt that is able to deliver access to anyone authorized anytime, anyplace, and on any device.

The objectives of the study are to develop a system that should be able to;

1. Store documents properly

2.  Archive and  retrieve documents properly and efficiently

3.  Ensure document security and availability.

1.4 Significance of the Study

The proposed system will offer the following advantages to the department of computer science, University of Port Harcourt;

1. Reduced Storage: The cost of commercial property and the need to store documentation for e.g. retrieval, regulatory compliance means that paper based document storage competes with people for space within an organization. Scanning documents and integrating them into a document management system can greatly reduce the amount of prime storage space required by paper. It also allows any documents that still have to be stored as paper to be stored in less expensive locations.

2. Flexible Indexing: Indexing paper in more than one way can be done, but it is awkward, costly and time-consuming. Images of documents stored within a document management system can be indexed in several different ways simultaneously.

3.  Improved, faster and more flexible search: Document Management Systems can retrieve files by any word or phrase in the document - known as full text search - a capability that is impossible with paper.

4. Controlled and Improved Document distribution: Imaging makes it easy to share documents electronically with colleagues and clients over a network, by email or via the Web in a controlled manner. Paper documents usually require photocopying to be shared. This provides a cost saving by reducing the overheads associated with paper based document distribution, such as printing and postage and removes the typical delay associated with providing hard copy information.

5. Improved Security: A document management system can provide better, more flexible control over sensitive documents. Many document management system solutions allow access to documents to be controlled at the folder and/or document level for different groups and individuals. Paper documents stored in a traditional filing cabinet or filing room does not have the same level of security i.e. if you have access to the cabinet you have access to all items in it. A document management system also provides an audit trail of who viewed an item, when or who modified an item and when, which is difficult to maintain with paper based systems.

6.  Disaster Recovery: A document management system provides an easy way to back-up documents for offsite storage and disaster recovery providing fail safe archives and an effective disaster recovery strategy. Paper is a bulky and expensive way to back-up records and is vulnerable to fire, flood, vandalism and theft.

7.  No Lost Files: Lost documents can be expensive and time-consuming to replace. Within a Document Management System, imaged documents remain centrally stored when being viewed, so none are lost or misplaced. New documents are less likely to be incorrectly filed and even if incorrectly stored can be quickly and easily found and moved via the full-text searching mechanisms.

8.  Digital Archiving: Keeping archival versions of documents in a document management system helps protect paper documents that still have to be retained, from over-handling.

1.5   Scope of The Study

The main challenge of document management is flexible storage and retrieval. This study's intended user is the department of computer science, University of Port Harcourt. The system will be provided with facilities for easy storage, retrieval and security of documents.

1.6 Definition of Terms

Document: A document is a form of information. It could be electronic or in the form of paper.

Management System: A documented and step by step method aimed at smooth functioning through standard processes.

Retrieval: The process of accessing information from memory or other storage devices.

Web Application: An application program stored on a remote server and delivered over the internet through a browser interface.

Web browser: A software application used to locate, retrieve and display contents on a World Wide Web, including web pages, video and other files.

Server: A running instance of an application capable of accepting requests from the client and giving responses accordingly.

Database:  A computerized record-keeping system. It is a repository for storing information.

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