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Capture is a term most commonly recognized in the enterprise content management (ECM) segment as the scanning of paper documents. Today, it has expanded to include all types of information—both scanned and digitally born.

Recently, someone asked me why we still call it capture. Why not call it curation? After all, isn't this what's really happening? Information is being gathered, collected, cataloged, and stored for future reference and use.

This observation made me pause and ask, "What should we call it?" His response was simple—scanning.

From this perspective, scanning is an action taken to convert paper documents into a digital form, allowing for the extraction of information to be collected, cataloged (indexed), and stored for future reference and use. Therefore, scanning is an action related to curation, much in the same way that saving a digitally born document is an action required for it to become part of a larger collection of information.

As we move forward, technology will take us in new directions with devices like Samsung's smart contact lens (which has a built-in camera/display). Using this device, one could simply blink to take a picture and store it digitally on a mobile device. There are also applications like the Microsoft HoloLens with the Novarad Opensight augmented reality system (ARS) that allows surgeons to visualize a patient's internal structure—multidimensionally. This combination allows surgeons to see the surgical area and conduct pre-operative planning without ever making an incision. The resulting information is then stored as part of the procedural and patient record.

Over the years, technology has advanced to the point where the bulk of information is created and managed in digital form. Yes, paper is still being managed and, for some, used in many businesses, but even paper generation begins with a digital file, which can be digitally gathered and brought into a collection. If you look at the elements of Capture 2.0, we see references to various format types, information types (audio, video, photographs, etc.), and sources.

The question remains, "Is capture still a viable term given today’s technology, content creation capabilities, and wide range of information? Or is curation now a better term?

If so, would content managers now become content curators? Scanning will remain an integral part of the curation process and is still a tool to gather information and launch the curation process. Or maybe we just continue to call it capture. I guess it depends on your perspective.

Bob Larrivee is a recognized expert in the application of advanced technologies and process improvement to solve business problems and enhance business operations. He reports on the latest information management technologies for DOCUMENT Strategy. Follow him on Twitter @BobLarrivee or visit