Indexing documents

One of the principal tasks you can do with ACIF is indexing print files, which are also known as documents. When indexing with ACIF, you can divide a large print file into smaller, uniquely identifiable units, called groups, as defined by the MO:DCA-named group structured fields. For example, you can use ACIF to divide a large bank-statement application into individual groups by inserting structured fields that define group boundaries into the file. A group is a named collection of sequential pages, which, in this example, consists of the pages that describe a single customer's account. For example, a bank-statement application probably produces a large printout that consists of thousands of individual customer statements. You can think of each of these statements as smaller, separate units, each uniquely identifying an account number, date, Social Security number, or other attributes.

You can also use ACIF to create an index object file to do these tasks:

  • Retrieve individual statements from storage, which is based on an account number or any other attribute.
  • More rapidly access the statements for viewing by, for example, the AFP Workbench Viewer.
  • Archive individual statements or the entire indexed print file for long-term storage and subsequent data management and reprinting, even years after its creation.

In addition to building an index-information file containing structured fields (the index object file), ACIF also inserts strings of character data, called tags, in the print file in structured-field format. ACIF inserts these same structured fields in the index object file. (The tags are contained in Tag Logical Element [TLE] structured fields, which are described in Helpful hints for using ACIF and Structured fields that ACIF uses.) You can use the indexing-tag structured fields to identify a group of pages. AFP document with index tags and the index object file shows the relationship between the group-level tags and the entries in the index object file.

AFP document with index tags and the index object file

This figure shows how the indexing tags in the AFP document relate to the index object file. For example, index information, offset, and size values for group 1 in the index object file relate to the group 1 tag in the AFP document.

ACIF can create an index object file for these types of input files:

  • Line data, XML data, or mixed-mode data
  • Unformatted ASCII data
  • AFP data that is produced by the (API), with or without indexing tags
    Note: In this instance, you are producing an index object file from an input file that contains index tags. You are not adding new indexing tags to an existing file.
  • AFP data that is produced by any other application

ACIF provides these ways for you to generate the indexing tags placed in the print file:

  • Use literal values that you specify to ACIF, which is useful when the values you want to use in the indexing tags are not consistently present in the data. This kind of indexing is called indexing with literal values.
  • When the data is formatted, use values present in the input data itself so that ACIF can reliably locate the values. This kind of indexing is called indexing with data values.