Job Description for a Document Control Specialist

by Will Charpentier

Whether you’re in school, planning for an information technology career, or already working and considering a lateral career move, work as a document control specialist requires more than basic computer literacy. Document control -- the development, organization and maintenance of a virtual library -- requires that you understand the principles and software that make such a collection possible.

Beyond Computer Literacy

Document control specialists aren’t just computer literate; they know how to establish a virtual library in a variety of computer environments, including IBMs MVS, Windows, Linux and UNIX. They know how to manipulate computer environments, such as Microsoft’s .Net software framework. Document control specialists also know how to use document scanning and capture software, document management software and a variety of Enterprise software packages.

The Virtural Library

Document control specialists set up the user interface you see when you enter a virtual library. They set up the databases that hold your user information and the workflow documents that log your time in the library. They may identify documents in the same way your local library does -- by subject, author or other metadata that describes the document’s content. Those in government service may assist in the classification of documents as confidential, secret or top secret. For documents so classified, the document control specialist sets up the restrictions necessary to prevent unauthorized access. In addition to access to the text of documents, they’ll set up a set of restrictions that prevent unauthorized revisions to the documents. In setting up these restrictions, a document specialist includes a tacit set of protocols that enable specific individuals to make changes to the document.

The Gatekeeper

If information is power, then document management systems must remain both secure and accessible. Increasing the size of the virtual library is part of the document control specialist’s job. This means using data capture technology -- scanners and software -- to turn a hard copy into a digital file and moving the newly digitized documents into the library’s document management system. Another element of the document control specialist’s job is to monitor the virtual library’s performance and take steps to ensure it operates properly and without interruption. Document control specialists may find themselves making recommendations about policy and system development. They also conduct user satisfaction surveys or similar activities to ensure the system is not only viable but that the virtual library contains the documents the end users need.

If You're Outside, Looking In

Preparation for a new or second career as a document control specialist requires more than a general education in IT. In addition to an understanding of email and the programs resident in most personal computer systems, such as the Excel spreadsheet and Access database software, a practitioner requires certifications or a deep understanding of image capture software, application server and content workflow software. The aspiring document control specialist also needs an extensive understanding and knowledge of database user interfaces, development environment and management software, desktop publishing and document management software. They also need to be fluent in enterprise integration and resource application software, such as IBM’s business process management software, and optical character reader software -- such as that used by banks to verify a signature -- operation.

About the Author

Will Charpentier is a writer who specializes in boating and maritime subjects. A retired ship captain, Charpentier holds a doctorate in applied ocean science and engineering. He is also a certified marine technician and the author of a popular text on writing local history.

Photo Credits

  • Hemera Technologies/ Images