Document Management Alliance spec approved (February 1998)

The Document Management Alliance (DMA) - astandards body seeking to provide interoperability between document management systemsfrom different vendors (PDM Vol. 2 N 6) has just released version 1.0 of theirspecification for interoperability.

The DMA specification enables vendors to build document management applications and systems that provide "reliable, security-controlled search and retrieval capabilities to documents stored throughout the enterprise". In addition to document search and retrieval, DMA-compliant products will provide a framework for other common document management functions, such as document creation, editing, version control, check-in/check-out, and security. The newly specification includes support for:

Searching for documents across multiple DMA-compliant repositories - in a single query - based on document properties

Ordering of search results

Searching for documents in a single DMA repository based on their content (a limited content-based retrieval capability)

Document version control, including check-out and check-in capabilities

Browsing of version histories

Folder creation and deletion

The Document Management Alliance (DMA) is both an organization and a specification. The DMA specification defines software component interfaces that enable uniform search and access to documents stored in multi-vendor document management systems. The DMA organization includes more than 60 user and vendor companies working together as a task force of AIIM to define interoperability specifications that meet the requirements of enterprise document management systems.

PDM comment - while the grass does tend to look greener on the other side of the fence, it is interesting to see how the DMA has achieved interoperability with such apparent ease. Firstly documents are pretty straightforward objects to start with and hence fit the paradigm of object oriented software engineering better than something like an "oilfield". Secondly the division of labors within the DMA seems to have been carried out without too much looking over the shoulder. Xerox has done the job of producing the middleware and others, such as FileNET, Napersoft and Eastman Software (Kodak) are plugging into the specification with DMA compliant products. It sounds too good to be true.

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