ODBC is an acronym for OPEN DATABASE CONNECTIVITY. It is a Windows tool that can be found in Control Panel>Administrative Tools>Data Sources (ODBC). It provides a standard interface to connect to virtually any database that is ODBC compliant.
Connecting to a database is very important when performing document processing. Without the ability to connect to data, MANUAL indexing is required (unless OCR, barcode or some other technology is used). Manual indexing is very inefficient and prone to errors. An error made during manual indexing may prevent the document to be found at a later time.
In a typical document management scenario there may be many different document types. Each document type may, or may not have, data that is “associated” with the documents. For the document types that do have associated data, the indexing process can be very efficient and accurate. Document processing software, that includes ODBC connectivity, will allow the indexer to enter data (typically a “key” such as Invoice Number) and the software will automatically perform a lookup into the database to VALIDATE the entry. In addition, related data such as Customer Name, Po Number, etc can be EXTRACTED from the database at the same time. This data can be part of the retrieval schema without any additional work or manual indexing.
Advanced software, that includes ODBC connectivity, will incorporate barcode or OCR technology to process documents completely automatically. The documents are scanned, separated automatically by barcode or OCR, the barcode or OCR data is used to perform the database lookup, the data is VALIDATED and the related data is EXTRACTED and the documents are published to the document Repository without any operator assistance.
ODBC can also be used on the “backend”, or retrieval side, of document management. It allows virtually any database to be used for purposes of retrieval of documents. Of course, the publishing and retrieval software must include the ODBC interface.