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COLD (Computer Output to Laser Disk)

What is Computer Output to Laser Disk (COLD)?

The so-called COLD (Computer Output to Laser Disk) procedure describes a possible way of importing data into a digital archiving system .  Here, spool data (of an ERP or PPC system's command) gets stored in a file for later retrieval. Furthermore, this prevents printing and creating redundant paper-based documents.

The Document Management System creates image files from the raw data, which look exactly like the actual printed receipts. Similar to scanned documents, these image files will then be added to the archive. The only difference is that the document's entire text and applicable tags from the original raw data are already available and need not be processed by an OCR.

The term COLD dates back to the early days of digital archiving systems. In the 1980s, the process originally developed by Philips was used for long-term recording of computer output. The term has persisted in the document management system environment to this day, although the technology is of course more advanced in the meantime. COLD is now generally used to describe the direct digital storage of output data from operational software systems. The storage media are meanwhile various, beside WORM and UDO media DVD, BluRay and normal hard disks are used. 

computer output to laser disk COLD

COLD in practice

bitfarm-Archiv Document Management offers a universal printer driver, which is switched between the operational application and the physical printer. This COLD printer driver allows simultaneous printing and archiving of a document. For the user the process is completely transparent, he prints his documents exactly as before. If the same document is printed several times, the duplicate recognition ensures that only one document is entered into the electronic archive from the COLD data. If desired, bitfarm-Archiv Document Management firmly connects the raw print data of the COLD import with matching stationery in order to store an exact copy of the outgoing document in an audit-proof manner. 

The indexing of the documents archived via the COLD interface is done automatically by bitfarm-Archiv Dokumentenmanagement without any user intervention. The DMS recognizes the different document types, special forms and different document languages. It then fully automatically indexes the relevant data such as order number, customer number, date, amount, article, etc. The indexed data can be used for document management. The document can be called up at any time via the indexed data. The benefits of this are:

  • Reduced time for indexing
  • Less errors
  • Higher worker motivation

In addition, an interface exists so that a document archived by COLD can be called directly from the leading system (usually the ERP system). The user thus enjoys the convenience of a fully integrated solution. This does not require an expensive interface or special programming - bitfarm-Archiv Document Management already provides this functionality for almost all current ERP systems. Today, COLD archiving with electronic document management is neither complex nor cost-intensive and represents a real alternative to conventional document archiving - even for small and medium-sized companies. 

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