2 Understanding Applications and Metadata

This section explains what an application is and provides an overview of how metadata is defined and subsequently associated with documents managed by Oracle I/PM. It contains the following topics:

2.1 Understanding Applications

Applications are the core of Oracle I/PM. Consider an application as a type of management container for documents. You select an application to use when uploading documents to Oracle I/PM and that application determines what information, or metadata, is associated with the uploaded document. The associated metadata may be visible to you and require you to input information into a form, such as entering an invoice number for the document, or the metadata may be invisible to you and used by the Oracle I/PM system, such as the security permissions required to retrieve the document. Each application has a different set of metadata, called a definition, which is determined by the person creating the application. An application definition is used to:

  • Assign permissions: applications determine what security permissions are appropriate to access uploaded documents.

  • Define indexing options: applications determine what information associated with a document is indexed and made available for searching.

  • Set storage policy: applications determine how a document is handled in a repository and when it is archived.

  • Define storage location and rules: applications determine the physical location of a document.

  • Specify workflow processes to initiate as part of the document workflow: applications are used to manage interaction with other business systems to integrate documents with standard business processes.

2.2 Understanding Metadata

Metadata is the set of information associated with a document at the time the document is uploaded to Oracle I/PM and is specified by the application used to upload the document. Metadata is different for each type of document because each type of document is uploaded using a different application. The metadata defined in each application is different because it is determined by the business need and agreed upon by the people responsible for the business process. Metadata can be visible to you, such as the information you enter when uploading or searching for a document, or it may be invisible to you and used by the Oracle I/PM system, such as security settings allowing access to the document, or a workflow that must be initiated when the document is uploaded.

2.2.1 Visible Metadata

Metadata can include invoice numbers, dates, company names, and any other information required by a business process. For example, invoice numbers may be tracked for invoices, but not for vendor contracts, job applications, or loan applications. The person creating the application determines the metadata fields used throughout the Oracle I/PM interface. This visible metadata is displayed on forms used when uploading documents, or on search forms used for retrieving documents. For example, the Accounting and Shipping departments for Corporate Car Rental may agree that lease metadata should include the following information which will allow both departments to access the required information to complete their jobs:

  • Lease number

  • Car Delivery Date

  • Lease Expiration Date

  • Amount Due

You would fill in values for these fields on a form used to upload lease documents, and the metadata can be indexed and used to search for and retrieve documents from the repository.

2.2.2 System Metadata

An application definition also includes information that you cannot see when uploading or searching for a document, but is necessary for the document to move through a business process. Such metadata includes permissions to retrieve and view a document, information regarding the document storage and archiving, and whether or not the document must go through a workflow. This metadata is not something you control, but is defined in the application by the person creating the application based on the needs of the business process for which the application is being used.

2.3 Associating Metadata with Documents

Each time a document is uploaded to Oracle I/PM, it is put into an application that has been designed for that type of document. If uploaded through a scanning station or other automated process, the metadata values are specified and populated during the upload process. If you are uploading the document manually, you choose the application to use and the application displays a form listing the metadata for which you can specify values. The values you specify in the form are the values for the metadata associated with the document as it is uploaded. Whether the metadata values are specified automatically during an automated upload or by you when you upload the document manually, the values are indexed and can then be used to search for and retrieve documents.

For example, when uploading an invoice, you might select an application named Invoices, which displays a form that includes a field for Invoice Number. When you enter the invoice number into the field and upload the document, that value gets indexed. To retrieve the document, you can select Invoices under your Searches panel and enter the value into the Invoice Number field in the search form. Because the value was indexed when the document was uploaded, Oracle I/PM finds it and displays it in the viewer.

2.4 Searching Document Metadata

The metadata associated with documents when they are uploaded can be used as criteria to search for and retrieve documents from Oracle I/PM. All fields are searchable, but not all fields may be made available to you on a search form.

The person creating a search creates it in a way similar to creating an application. The person creating the search determines what metadata fields you see in a search form. Each search is displayed in the Searches panel of the Navigator pane. Clicking a search link displays a form requesting search parameter metadata associated with the type of documents you are searching for. Because an application determines the metadata to be used as search criteria, most search options in Oracle I/PM have a direct correlation with the application in which a document resides. For example, if there is an application named “Leases” for uploading leases, then there is likely a search named “Current Leases” that displays a search form to enter criteria to find lease documents within a certain date range. However if necessary, a single search form can be created to be used to search across multiple applications.

Depending on how Oracle I/PM is configured, document content (full text) may also be made available for searching. For example, text from a leasing contract may get indexed when the lease is uploaded to Oracle I/PM, enabling you to search for words or phrases from within the lease. Like metadata, searches for the full text of documents is done using a field on the search form when the search is created. If you are uncertain whether your version of Oracle I/PM supports full text searching, ask your system administrator.