Document & Mail Automation Glossary
Access Rights protect documents against unauthorized access. Access rights can be set for access to specific departments, documents, statuses, and actions for a system.
AADC (See Automated Area Distribution Center.)
Absentee Ballot is a type of voting ballot cast through mail by an individual who is unable to cast an in-person vote at their assigned polling station.
ADC (See Area Distribution Center.)
Additional Entry is a term used to refer to a post office where a publisher is authorized to mail a publication and is different from the original office of entry.
Administration allows additions or changes to be made to the structure and usage of a system including functionality to change and create workflows or permissions. Admin rights can be limited to few individuals.
Address Change Service is an automated process that provides change-of-address information to mailers with digital mailing lists. Change-of-address information is captured by Computerized Forwarding System (CFS) units and is sent digitally. (Also see Computerized Forwarding System.)
Address Correction Service is a system that allows mailers to obtain a recipient’s new or forwarding address or be given a reason for non-delivery.
Address Element Correction (AEC) is a process where incomplete or incorrect digital address files are identified and revised. AEC involves digitally matching address records using certified software.
Address Service Requested (ASR) (See Address Change Service.)
AEC (See Address Element Correction.)
Airport Mail Center (AMC) is a type of postal facility located at an airport that is responsible for receiving, transferring, dispatching, and distributing mail that is transported by air.
Alternate Mailing System (AMS) is a type of procedure that ensures proper postage and preparation without verifying mail by weight to accept permit imprint mail. AMS must be authorized by the Business Mailer Support Manager.
AMC (See Airport Mail Center.)
AMS (See Alternate Mailing System.)
Ancillary Service is a service included within a mailing class, such as mail forwarding, change-of-address, or address correction. The pricing of these services depends on the mail class.
Ancillary Service Endorsement is a mark used by the mailer or post office that requests a new address of the recipient and provides instructions to handle undeliverable mail.
Annotations are a layer of an indexed document and provide the ability to mark-up records with sticky notes, highlights, redactions, and more. Annotations do not impact the integrity of the original file or record.
API (Application Program Interface) is a function that allows applications to access or integrate data or certain features within other applications, services, or operating systems.
APO (See Army Post Office.)
Application Program Interface (See API.)
Archiving is storing documents permanently or long-term in electronic storage space. After documents are indexed, they will be archived for storage. For use in records management, archiving is storing documents or records in an unalterable form on paper, long-term storage media, or in digital storage. (Also see Records Management.)
Area Distribution Center (ADC) is a type of mail processing facility that receives and distributes mail based on ZIP codes.
Aspect Ratio is the ratio between the width and height of an image or document. When referring to mail, an aspect ratio refers to the dimension of a piece of mail where the length is divided by the height. For letters or cards, the length is parallel to the address.
ASR (See Address Change Service.)
Audit Trail is a record of all activity logged by the software for each secure document that has been indexed. An audit trail tracks the views, content changes, and edits made to the indexing structure of the document. Audit trails help prevent unauthorized access to documents and are required to prove compliance with security regulations.
Automated Area Distribution Center (AADC) is a type of distribution center and mail processing facility that uses automation equipment such as multi-line optical character readers (MLOCRs), barcode sorters, and other equipment to process automation compatible mail. (Also see Area Distribution Center, Automation Compatible Mail and Multi-Line Optical Character Reader.)
Automation is the process of converting manual tasks to automatic ones with equipment.
Automation Compatible Mail is mail that can be processed and scanned by mail automation equipment such as multi-line optical character readers (MLOCRs) and barcode sorters. (Also see Multi-Line Optical Character Reader.)
Automation Price is a postage discount offered to mailers who add barcodes to the pieces of mail they are sending to allow mail to be processed using automation. This discount is also offered if mail meets the proper addressing and readability requirements necessary for automated mail processing. (Also see Automation Compatible Mail.)
Auxiliary Device is equipment that connects to a computer and is able to be used to gather or send information. (Also see Peripheral.)
Auxiliary Service Facility (ASF) is a type of mail processing facility with its own service area that serves as a satellite processing center for a specific Network Distribution Center (NDC). (Also see Network Distribution Center.)
Backup is a procedure that creates a copy of the archived documents, data, and images collected.
Balloon Price is a price charged for Priority Mail in zones one through four and Parcel Post items that weigh less than 20 pounds and measure between 84 and 108 inches of combined length and thickness.
Bar is the dark element in a barcode.
Bar Height is the height of a bar in a barcode. The bar height is longer than the width. When a barcode is scanned, the barcode is read perpendicular to the height of a bar. Bar height can also be referred to as bar length.
Bar Length (See Bar Height.)
Bar Width is the thickness of a bar as opposed to how long a bar is. It is measured from the edge that is closest to the start of the entire barcode and ends at the next closest edge of a bar.
Barcode Character is a single group consisting of bars and spaces that represent a number, which is often a combination of numbers, letters, or other symbols. A barcode character is the smallest form of a barcode that can contain data.
Barcode Clear Zone is an area located on the lower right part of a letter or similar piece of mail that is required to be left blank or free of any symbols other than a barcode. This area is reserved only for barcodes to allow automation equipment and machines to read or apply a barcode.
Barcode Density refers to the number of characters or amount of data that can be represented in a linear unit of measure and is expressed in characters per inch.
Barcode Label is a label attached to an item or object that contains a barcode symbol.
Barcode Read Area is an area in the barcode clear zone reserved for the barcode to be printed. A barcode read are is defined by position of the leftmost bar and bottom edge of the barcode. (Also see Barcode Clear Zone.)
Barcode Reader is a tool of mail automation equipment that reads or interprets a barcode on a piece of mail in order to process it. (Also see Barcode.)
Barcode Container Label is a type of label on trays or sacks that contains a barcode. This barcoded container label is processed by an automated tray or sack handling system.
Barcode Discount is a postage discount available for select Package Services machinable parcels and Bound Printed Matter flats that are printed with the correct barcode and meet other requirements, such as correct shape, size, and volume.
Benchmarking is the process of setting baseline metrics that can be used to evaluate and track progress with data for a specific process or product.
Blockchain is a type of digitally distributed ledger used to create a verifiable record of events and transactions. Blockchains are also used to provide records in areas that are unmanaged.
BMEU (See Business Mail Entry Unit.)
Bound Printed Matter is a subcategory of Package Services. It consists of bound sheets that are printed with at least 90% advertising, promotional, directory, editorial material, or a combination of all these. (Also see Package Services/USPS Ground.)
BPM (See Business Process Management.)
BPRS (See Bulk Parcel Return Service.)
Bulk Parcel Return Service (BPRS) is a service where undeliverable-as-addressed Standard Mail machinable parcels are returned to a mailer.
Bundle is a group of addressed mail pieces assembled together to create a bulk unit that is used for mail processing.
Business Mail Entry Unit (BMEU) is a specific area of a postal facility where bulk, presorted, and permit imprint mail are presented for acceptance. This area also includes office space, platform space, and staging areas in the workroom.
Business Model Transformation is a type of digital transformation where a business changes its model to be more supported by digital technologies and tools to expand its profitability. (See Digital Transformation.)
Business Process Management refers to the way a business or organization controls its operating processes. BPM is used to ensure that processes are efficient and effective.
Business Process Transformation is a type of digital transformation where a business changes the way it internally handles content creation, storage, and sharing to use digital technology. (See Digital Transformation.)
Business Reply Mail (BRM) is a type of service that allows a permit holder to receive First-Class Mail and Priority Mail back from customers and only pay postage for returned pieces that are delivered back to the permit holder. Returned mail is required to have a specific address and format.
Caller Service is a type of optional delivery service provided for a fee to all Post Office customers who have large volumes of mail, need multiple separations, and need a PO box number address when no PO boxes are available.
Capture is the process of converting a paper document into a digital document and/or extracting data from a physical form. Capture allows quick and immediate access to information and electronic documents can be captured and added to a document repository.
Carrier Route is a route by which a carrier delivers mail and includes any city routes, rural routes, highway contract routes, Post Office box sections, and general delivery units to deliver mail to a range of addresses.
Carrier Route File is an official listing of all city and non-city delivery Post Offices that consists of schemes for city routes, rural routes, highway contract routes, Post Office box sections, and general delivery units. A carrier route file is formatted according to zip code, street name, and street number ranger.
Carrier Route Presort Mail is mail that is sorted according to carrier route in order to qualify for discounted postage and does not require primary of secondary distribution. The available prices for carrier route presort mail are standard mail, periodicals, and bound printed matter. (Also see Carrier Route and Bound Printed Matter.)
Case Management refers to the process where cases (any project, service, response, or transaction) are “opened” or “closed” according to the resolution of a claim, problem, or request. Case Management typically involves multiple people and documents.
CASS (See Coding Accuracy Support System.)
Centralized Postage Payment System (CPP) is a type of postage payment system operated by the Pricing and Classification Service Center that allows the publishers of periodical publications to pay for postage at a single postal facility if their publications are entered at three or more post offices, rather than pay through multiple individual accounts at each post office.
Certified Mail is a mail service that provides the sender of the mail with a receipt and a delivery record that is maintained by USPS. Certified mail is required to be sent at First-Class Mail or Priority Mail prices. Certified mail may also include return receipt and restricted delivery services.
CFS (See Computerize Forwarding System.)
Check Character is the last character in a barcode that is used for confirming the validity of a barcode or for error detection. It differs from a check digit in that a check digit is only written as a number while a check character can be another symbol. A check character can also be called a correction character (Also see Check Digit.)
Check Digit is the last number in a barcode. It is calculated by totaling all of the other numbers present in a barcode together and is used for confirming the validity or for error detection in barcode numbers. A check digit and a check character serve the same purpose; however, a check digit is always a number. A check digit can also be called a correction digit. (Also see Check Character.)
Check In/Check Out is a feature where specific documents can be set to be altered by a single user at a time. The latest version will always be the published version of a document. If a document is checked out, the other users will have viewing access to the current and latest version to prevent multiple versions existing at the same time.
CIN (See Content Identifier Number.)
Classification is the process of grouping mail into classes and subclasses of price categories according to content, weight, size, and preparation standards.
Classrom Price is a type of periodicals price available to an authorized mailer of educational, scientific, or religious publications for the use of scholastic or religious instruction.
Cloud is the process of managing, sorting, and processing data using web-hosted remote servers instead of local network. The cloud is a way for businesses to reduce overhead costs by removing the need for local servers and provides an easy and secure way for users to access information from any location.
Cloud-Based Computing (See Cloud.)
CMRA (See Commercial Mail Receiving Agency.)
CMS (See Content Management System.)
Coding Accuracy Support System (CASS) is a service offered to mailers, service bureaus, and software vendors that provides a common platform to measure the quality of address matching software and to diagnose and fix software problems. CASS also improves the accuracy of matching delivery addresses of mail to ZIP+4 codes, five-digit ZIP codes, and carrier route codes. (Also see ZIP Code.)
Collaboration is the process where individuals work together to achieve a common goal. In a document management system, collaboration allows documents to be in a location where multiple users can access the documents and work simultaneously.
Collect on Delivery (COD) is a type of service offered to mailers who need to mail an article but have not yet received payment. After the article is mailed, the payment amount due to the sender is collected from the recipient and returned to the sender.
Combined Mailing is a form of mailing where individually addressed pieces of mail are sorted and merged together, typically using at least two postage payment methods.
Commercial Mail receiving Agency (CMRA) is a private business that receives mail for specific clients by providing a delivery address in addition to other services.
Commingle is the process of integrating mixed mail into the same mailing, such as subscriber and nonsubscriber mail or machinable or irregular parcels.
Computer-Readable Media is media material, such as DVDs, CDs, or CD-ROMs, that is mailable at discount prices based on the type of packaging used or the contents of the mailer.
Computerized Forwarding System (CFS) is a system capable of creating address labels, correcting addresses, and forwards or returns undeliverable-as-addressed mail to the proper recipients.
Configuration is the process in which a database or repository is customized to the needs of specific documents or processes in a business.
Content is a term used to refer to documents, emails, and other created data.
Content Identifier Number (CIN) is a code made up of numbers that is located on a tray or sack label to identify the class or presort level of mail.
Content Management is the process used to manage, create, edit, or store digital content.
Content System Management (CMS) is a software platform used to create and modify digital content.
Content Services Platform (CSP) is an all-in-one platform or system that organizations use to manage, store, share, protect, and create content.
Cooperative Mailing is a form of mailing that is produced by two or more organizations to share the cost, risk, or benefits involved in mailing.
Copalletize is the process of combining mail from two or more separate mail streams and placing them together on one pallet.
Courtesy Reply Mail consists of material a mailer provides to customers, such as an envelope or postcard, in order to accelerate the delivery of their responses.
CPP (See Centralized Postal Payment System.)
CRM (See Courtesy Reply Mail.)
CSP (See Content Services Platform.)
Cultural/Organizational Transformation is a type of digital transformation where a company changes the way it does business by integrating digital tools into the business. (See Digital Transformation.)
Customer Focus is a primary goal implemented by a business that puts customers first through communication and business processes.
DAL (See Detached Address Label.)
DDU (See Destination Delivery Unit (DDU) Price.)
Dead Mail is undeliverable-as-addressed mail that can’t be returned to the sender typically because there is no return address provided on the mail.
Delivery Confirmation is a type of mail service that provides information about the delivery of mail or packages, such as the date and time of a delivery, whether a delivery attempt was successful or unsuccessful, and the time and date of a delivery attempt. A delivery confirmation can be provided as an electronic option to mailers that include barcodes on their mail or to mailers as a retail option where delivery status can be tracked on the internet through a carrier’s website.
Delivery Point Barcode (DPBC) is a type of POSTNET barcode that allows letters to be automatically sorted in carrier walk sequence. A DPBC consists of 62 bars, a beginning and end frame bar, five bars for the nine digits in a ZIP+4 code, the last two digits of the street address or PO box number, and a correction digit. (Also see Check Digit and Postal Numeric Encoding Technique (POSTNET).)
Delivery Sequenced Mail is mail arranged by delivery order in preparation for a specific carrier route and does not require primary or secondary distribution.
Destination Area Distribution Center (DADC) Price is a price for periodical mail that has been prepared and entered at an area distribution center (ADC) that serves the mail’s delivery address. (Also see Area Distribution Center (ADC).)
Destination Delivery Unit (DDU) Price is a price available for properly prepared standard mail, parcel select, and bound printed matter that is entered at a delivery unit.
Destination Network Distribution Center (DNDC) Price is a price available for properly prepared periodicals, standard mail, parcel select, and bound printed materials that are entered at a network distribution center (NDC) or other postal facility.
Destination Sectional Center Facility (DSCF) Price is a price available for properly prepared periodicals, standard mail, parcel select, and bound printed matter that are entered at a sectional center facility (SCF) or other postal facility.
Detached Address Label (DAL) is a paper or cardstock document that contains address information and is used for preparing unaddressed periodicals flats, standard mail flats, merchandise samples, or bound printed matter.
Detached Mail Unit (DMU) is an area that is a part of a mailer’s facility used for postal employees to verify, accept, and dispatch mail or carry out other postal functions.
Digital Signature is a way to validate a digital document’s validity and authenticity. Documents can be approved with a digital signature without the need for printing, signing, and faxing a document.
Digital Transformation is a process where an organization adopts new digital technology for tools, processes, and systems. The main types of digital transformation are: Business Model, Business Procedures, Culture/Organizational, and Domain. (Also see Business Model Transformation, Business Process Transformation, Cultural/Organizational Transformation, and Domain Transformation.)
Digitization is a process of adopting new digital technology for tools, processes, and systems. Digitization transforms physical and traditional paper documentation to a digital form to make storage, organization, and usability easier and faster.
Dimensional Weight is the amount of space a package occupies during transit, whether in a truck or plane. Postage pricing is based on dimensional weight or actual weight, whichever one is greater. Pricing based on dimensional weight charges more for large packages that don’t actually weigh very much and only applies to packages large than one cubic foot.
Direct Mail is a term referring to advertising mail that is sent to targeted markets.
Disaster Recovery is a plan that aims to protect an organization from the effects of significant negative events that disrupt business. A disaster recovery plan allows an organization to maintain or quickly resume critical functions following a disaster.
DMM (See Domestic Mail Manual.)
DMS (See Document Management System.)
DMU (See Detached Mail Unit.)
Document Imaging is the process of scanning physical paper documents and converting them to an electronic form.
Document Management System (DMS) is a digital platform, computer system, or software that allows an organization to manage, create, store, share, and protect digital documents based on data, images, and other information captured by a document scanner.
Document Scanning is the process of scanning paper or hard-copies of documents to create digital files that can be managed with a DMS system. (Also see Document Management System.)
Domain Transformation is a type of digital transformation where an organization identifies and expands areas of their business to focus on new digital areas. (See Digital Transformation.)
DPBC (See Delivery Point Barcode.)
Drag and Drop is a feature where an electronic document can be moved easily from one part of the system’s screen to another. Drag and drop saves time by removing the need to resave files and can even be used to create workflow processes.
Drop Shipment (See Dropshipping.)
Dropshipping (Drop Shipment) is a fulfillment method where products are not kept in stock at the store they are sold at and are instead purchased and shipped to the customer from a third party, such as a manufacturer or wholesaler. Typical, the product is moved on private transportation, or transportation not associated with a postal facility, from the point of production to a postal facility close to the destination.
eDiscovery is a term describing the initial phase of litigation where disputing parties must provide relevant documents, records, and other evidence relating to a case.
Electronic Signature is any electronic sound, symbol, or process used to sign an electronic transaction. A digital signature is a secure subset of electronic signatures. (Also see Digital Signature.)
Eligibility refers to standards, such as content, mail processing category, and preparation, that qualify mail for a certain price or additional discount.
Email Management refers to the maintaining of organizational standards email must be held to regarding addressing information and records. Email is a primary form of standard communication across organizations and businesses.
EMM (See Extended Managed Mail Tray.)
Encryption is the process of converting information or data into a code to prevent unauthorized access to digital documents.
Endorsement is an authorized marking on a mail piece that shows information, such as an ancillary service request or handling instructions. (Also see Marking.)
Enterprise Content Management (ECM) is a system used before the Content Management System (CMS). ECM is a combination of strategies, tools, and methods used to digitally capture, store, and manage an organization’s content and data. (Also see Content Management System.)
Enterprise Search is the practice of identifying and allowing content to be indexed, searched, and displayed on software for use in an organization.
Entry NDC (See Entry Network Distribution Center.)
Entry Post Office is a post office where mailings are deposited in order to be paid through an account at that post office.
Express Mail (See Priority Mail Express.)
Express Mail Military Service (EMMS) is a type of express mail that is only available between the US (United States) and designated army post office (APO) and fleet post office (FPO) addresses. EMMS provides the Department of Defense or other authorized personnel with expedited delivery to or from the US.
Extended Managed Mail Tray (EMM) is a large mail tray used tall letter size mail that doesn’t fit in a regular managed mail tray, or MM. An EMM is around two feet long, measuring 21¾” long by 11½” wide and 6 ⅛” tall.
Face refers to the side of a mail piece that shows the delivery address. A standard face consists of a delivery address and a stamp in the upper right corner.
Facing Identification Mark (FIM) is a barcode consisting of four or five vertical bars that is used by mail automation equipment to identify, orient, and separate mail. It is located on the face of a mail piece in the upper right corner to the left of a stamp area.
Facing Slip is a label attached to the top of a bundle of mail used to show where mail needs to be distributed and identifies the class, type, country, or military post office associated with the mail. (Also see Optional Endorsement Line.)
FASTforward is an automated system licensed by the USPS that is used to update addresses by matching information associated with current change-of-address orders on file. Mail processed by FASTforward can be directly sent to a new address rather than being sent to an old address and forwarded to the new address.
FCM (See First-Class Mail.)
Federal Register is a daily publication distributed by the Office of the Federal Register that includes US government documents that must be published and available for the public to comment and notice.
FIM (See Facing Identification Mark.)
First-Class Mail (FCM) is a mail class commonly used for lightweight packages that can provide a delivery speed of one to three days. Similar to priority mail, first-class mail is commonly used by ecommerce businesses. Each first-class mail envelope is charged a flat rate of $0.55 regardless of the mailing distance. (Also see Mail Class.)
Flat is a term that refers to mail that is sorted without being bent, which is called flat-size mail. (Also see Flat-Size Mail.)
Flat-Size Mail is mail that is sorted without being bent. Flat-size mail is flexible and rectangular and may be unwrapped, sleeved, wrapped, or enveloped. It also exceeds at least one dimension of standard letter-size mail but doesn’t not exceed the maximum dimensions for mail processing.
Forms Processing is a process where information is captured and entered into data fields that are then added directly to a data base, such as names, addresses, or numbers. The entire form or data only can be captured using an automated or manual process.
Franked Mail is official mail that is sent without postage by government officials and other authorized members, such as members of Congress and the Vice President, relating to the official business, activities, or duties of the mailer. Franked mail has a written signature, printed facsimile signature, or other marking that is required in place of a stamp. (Also see Penalty Mail.)
Full Flat Tray is a tray filled with flats that requires preparation before being presorted and contains at least enough pieces to fill the tray to the bottom of the handholds.
Full Sack is a mail sack that is filled with the minimum number of mail pieces that are needed to qualify for the class and price point chosen.
Full-Text Search is the ability to search the entire text of a document to find a word or phrase.
Hazardous Material (HAZMAT) refers to any substance designated by the US Department of Transportation that may be capable of posing a risk to the health or safety of people or to property during its transportation.
HAZMAT (See Hazardous Material.)
Highway Contract Route (HCR) is a travel route used by a postal carrier to transport mail across highways in between destinations that sometimes include mail delivery to addresses along the travel route. An HCR was formerly called a star route.
Hosting refers to storing data to be accessed on the internet through a server, cloud, or combination of both. Companies can host their own data, content, or websites or a third-party can be used.
Identical Piece is an individual mail piece with the same mailing class that shares the same physical aspects, size, and weight with all the other pieces of a mailing.
Imaging is another term for scanning or document scanning. Paper or hard-copies of documents are scanned, or imaged, to create digital copies. (Also see Document Scanning.)
Imaging Services are document scanning services offered by an organization to create digital copies of paper or hard-copies of documents and files.
IMM (See International Mail Manual.)
Indicia is an imprinted designation on a mail piece that indicates postage payment.
Information-Based Indicia (IBI) is a digital form of indicia that includes a barcode accompanied by human-readable information and requires a digital signature.
Information Management refers to the ways digital and physical information are maintained throughout the lifecycle of information no matter what form the data takes.
Insert is a letter, card, or other item placed inside of another piece of mail. (Also see (Also see Outsert.)
Insured Mail is a type of service available for first-class mail, express mail, priority mail, standard mail, and package services that provides financial coverage for lost or damaged items.
Integration allows access to the functionality of document management software through other software programs. Integration joins multiple software systems together as one system. This process combines subroutines, software modules, or full programs with other software components to develop a new application or to add functionality to an existing one. Through integration, digital interfaces can be connected.
International Mail Manual (IMM) is a USPS manual consisting of information regarding the prices and classification standards for mailing between the United States and other countries and contains pricing information for each country.
International Standard Book Number (ISBN) is a number assigned to a publication by the Library of Congress in order to identify a specific book.
International Standard Serial Number (ISSN) is a number assigned to a publication by the Library of Congress in order to identify a specific book.
ISBN (See International Standard Book Number.)
ISSN (See International Standard Serial Number.)
Keyline is a unique code located that is printed above the address in the lower left corner of an envelope. A keyline allows mailers to identify the recipient of the mail in a database and to identify its proper presort level. It is also sometimes used to contain specific information about the mail itself. Keylines consists of four to sixteen characters and a check digit.
Key Performance Indicator (KPI) is a metric used by organizations to define goals for success.
Known Office of Publication is an office of a periodicals publication that is located where the original periodical entry is authorized.
Letter is a message recorded as a tangible document and is directed to a specific address or person. A letter can also refer to letter-size mail or paper size. (Also see Letter-Size Mail.)
Letter-Size Mail is a category for mail processing that defines specific dimensions that letters or cards cannot exceed in order to be processed in this category. (Also see Letter.)
Library Mail is a mailing subclass that provides a cost-effective way or pricing to mail materials, such as books, sound recordings, academic materials, and other qualifying items to or from an academic institution, library, or museum. The pricing of library mail is based on weight and can weight a maximum total of 70 pounds. (Also see Package Services/USPS Ground.)
Licensing is a legal instrument that governs the use or redistribution of software. The licenses selected determines the actions and abilities that can be used by the software.
LOT (See Line-of-Travel-Sequence.)
LTR (LTRS) is an abbreviation that identifies mail content as letter-size pieces on mail trays.
MACH is an abbreviation that identifies mail content as machinable to allow it to be processed and sorted by equipment. MACH is labeled on mail containers. (Also see Machinable.)
Machinable Parcel refers to a parcel that has the correct specifications to be safely processed and sorted by equipment, such as a parcel sorting machine.
Mail is any letter, package, or similar item that can be sent using the postal system or that is accepted by the USPS for processing and delivery. Mail can also refer to the amount of mail present in a current system or describe the process of depositing a mailable item in a mailbox, collection box, or at a post office.
Mail Class is the categorization and division of domestic mail according to certain factors, such as content, speed of delivery, and cost. The six major mail classes are:
- Priority Mail is a mail class that offers fast delivery times at an affordable price, but delivery time is not as fast as priority mail express. Priority mail is commonly used for ecommerce since it is cost-effective and may offer special pricing.
- Priority Mail Express is a mail class that offers the fastest delivery time with and provides guaranteed one or two day expedited shipping if the package is entered by 3pm. Priority mail express is commonly used if packages need to be delivered quickly or if ecommerce businesses need to offer competitive options. It also includes $100 of insurance coverage for mail and packages.
- First-Class Mail (FCM) is a mail class commonly used for lightweight packages that can provide a delivery speed of one to three days. Similar to priority mail, first-class mail is commonly used by ecommerce businesses. Each first-class mail envelope is charged a flat rate of $0.55 regardless of the mailing distance.
- Standard Mail or USPS Marketing Mail is a mail class used by businesses to send marketing collateral to target markets. Marketing mail includes material such as coupons, flyers, catalogues, and other similar items. Marketing mail must also be sent by bulk at a minimum number of pieces and postage is not available for single pieces.
- Periodicals is a mail class consisting of any newspapers, publications, or magazines. It is not commonly used by online businesses since it only involves printed material.
- Package Services/USPS Retail Ground is a mail class that includes four specific subclasses of mail: bound printed matter, library mail, media mail, and parcel post. (Also see Bound Printed Matter, Library Mail, Mail Class, Media Mail, and Parcel Post.)
Mail-In Ballot is a type of absentee ballot that is cast by mail for an individual who is unable to vote in-person at their assigned polling station or a ballot cast by mail provided by states who offer voting by mail. Mail-in ballots can be requested according to state guidelines.
Mailing is the action of depositing a mailable item in a mailbox, collection box, or post office to be sent to a destination. Mailing is also used to describe a group of mail pieces that can be sorted together according to mail class and processing category.
Mailing Agent is a private third-party that mails on behalf of someone else, such as a presort bureau or parcel consolidator.
Mailing Standards of the United States Postal Service (See Domestic Mail Manual.)
Managed Mail Tray (MM) is a cardboard or plastic container that is stackable and is used to transport mail between post offices.
Manifest Mailing System (MMS) is a type of computerized postage payment system that allows a mailer to document the postage and fees of imprint mailings. (Also see Indicia.)
Marketing Mail (USPS Marketing Mail) is a mail class used by businesses to send marketing collateral to target markets. Marketing mail includes material such as coupons, flyers, catalogues, and other similar items. Marketing mail must also be sent by bulk at a minimum number of pieces and postage is not available for single pieces. (Also see Mail Class.)
Marking refers to the abbreviations or words that are printed on a mail piece and used to identify the mail class, presort level, or ancillary service endorsement. (Also see Endorsement.)
Merchandise Return Service is a type of service where a company can provide a mailing label to a customer included in a package to return it if needed. The customer does not have to pay for postage and the company pays for it instead.
MERLIN (Mail Evaluation Readability Lookup Instrument) is a system used by the USPS to determine whether or not mail can be accepted and accept mail.
Meter Mark (See Meter Stamp.)
Meter Stamp (Meter Mark) is a mark created by a postage meter machine that represents paid postage on a letter, parcel, or similar piece of mail. Meter stamps are widely used because of their convenience and are more efficient than using stamps. Meter stamps can be used for all mail classes except for periodicals.
Metered Mail is any mail piece with a meter stamp or meter mark. (Also see Meter Stamp.)
Microservice is a type of software framework that organizes an application as a series of services and well-defined interfaces or operations.
Minimum Size Standard is a standard that defines the smallest dimensions all mailable matter, mail processing, or price can apply to.
Mixed Class is a type of mailing that consists of more than one mail class. Mail that is mixed class is charged the higher postage price of the mail classes.
MXD is an abbreviation for mixed on a mail container label that is used to identify mail as mixed to be delivered to different destinations. MXD is the last presort level of mail.
MM (See Managed Mail Tray.)
MMS (See Manifest Mailing System.)
Mobile Access is access to a document database or repository through the use of any web-connected mobile device.
MOM (See Military Ordinary Mail.)
MPO (See Military Post Office.)
Multi-Function Peripheral (MFP) is a device that carries out the function of individual peripheral devices, such as a scanner, printer, copier, and fax machine. MFPs are commonly used for centralized document management systems. (Also see Peripheral Device.)
Multi-Line Optical Character Reader (MLOCR) is technology that uses optical character recognition (OCR) software to gather information from mail or documents. MLOCRs capture images of mail or documents, identify text or writing according to an existing library of characters, and extract the information. (Also see Recognition.)
National Change of Address Linkage System (NCOALink) is a database of information consisting of the names and addresses of individuals, families, and businesses that have filed a change-of-address request with the USPS. NCOALink has the ability to correct addresses to the new permanent address before it is printed on mail.
NDC (See Network Distribution Center.)
Network Distribution Center (NDC) is a mail processing facility that distributes standard mail and package services mail. (Also see Auxiliary Service Facility.)
Network Distribution Center (NDC) Presort Price is a price for parcel select mail that is prepared and entered at a NDC or similar postal facility.
NFMs (See Not Flat-Machinable Pieces.)
NMO (See Non-machinable Outside.)
Non-machinable Outside (NMO) (NIC) is a non-machinable mail piece or parcel that can’t be placed in a mailing container, tray, or sack. (Also see Non-machinable.)
Nonmailable Articles and Substances are any items or substances that can’t be mailed since they may pose risk to, injure, or kill another or may damage other mail and property.
Nonprofit Price (NOS) is a price reserved for a periodicals publisher that is authorized to send mail as a nonprofit organization.
Nonprofit Standard Mail is a subclassification of standard mail that is available for businesses who qualify as a nonprofit organization. (Also see Standard Mail.)
Nonprofit Standard Mail Eligibility is a standard that governs the eligibility, authorization, and rules for businesses to send mail at a nonprofit price. This standard can be referenced in Publication 417 to determine whether or not a customer or organization has eligibility. (Also see Nonprofit Price and Nonprofit Standard Mail.)
Not Flat-Machinable Pieces (NFMs) is a subclassification of standard mail that includes parcels that can’t be processed on flat mail sorting equipment.
Notice 123 (See Price List.)
ONDC (See Origin Network Distribution Center Presort.)
On-Premise is a term used to describe the locations of servers. The servers are typically located in an organization’s space and are maintained and controlled by the organization.
Optical Character Reader is a machine that can identify typed, handwritten, or printed text. In mail sorting, an optical character reader can interpret address information on a piece of mail and print the information as a barcode on the mail. (Also see Optical Character Recognition under Recognition.)
Optical Character Recognition (See Recognition.)
Optical Mark Reading (See Recognition.)
Optional Endorsement Line (OEL) is a series of characters printed above an address line that replaces packaging labels to identify the sort level of a bundle.
Origin Facility is a type of USPS facility, such as a network distribution center (NDC) or a sectional center facility (SCF), where mail is processed according to the Post Office the mail was originally entered at. An origin facility is also called an entry facility. (Also see Entry Facility.)
Outsert is an external attachment on another piece of mail. (Also see Insert.)
Oversized Price is a price allotted for parcel post and parcel select for oversized pieces. Oversized pieces are considered oversize if they exceed 108 inches but are still less than 130 inches in combined length and width.
PAL (See Parcel Airlift.)
Pallet is a platform used to stack or move mail or other materials as one unit. Pallets are typically made of wood or strong material and are designed to have a four-way forklift entry. A USPS pallet measures 48 by 40 inches.
Paper-based describes processes or businesses that use hard-copies and paper to document information.
Parcel Airlift (PAL) is an air transportation service for parcels to or from a military post office outside of the contiguous 48 US states. (Also see Military Post Office.)
Parcel Post is a subclassification of package services primarily used for mail that is too large or heavy for normal post. (Also see Package Services/USPS Ground.)
Parcel Select is the registered name for the USPS ground service for packages and mail entered at destination facilities and in bulk. Parcel select is typically used for medium and large shipments.
PAVE (See Presort Accuracy Validation and Evaluation.)
PCSC (See Pricing and Classification Service Center.)
PDC/F (See Processing and Distribution Center/Facility.)
PDF/A is an ISO-standardized (International Organization for Standardization) version of a PDF (Portable Document Format). PDF/A is specialized for use in permanent or long-term storage or preservation of documents. PDF/A is different from a PDF because it does not allow features unsuitable for long-term archiving such as font-linking and encryption.
Penalty Mail is official mail sent by members of the US government or other authorized individuals without prepaying for postage. Government agencies or other authorized agencies then reimburse the USPS for postage. Penalty mail is named from the endorsement printed on the mail, “Penalty for Private Use.” (Also see Franked Mail.)
Periodicals is a mail class consisting of any newspapers, publications, or magazines. It is not commonly used by online businesses since it only involves printed material. (Also see Mail Class.)
Peripheral Device (See Peripheral Device.)
Permissions (See Access Rights.)
Permit is any authorization that is required for preparation or postage payment, such as an indicia or imprint. These payments are made to an established USPS account. Permits are also required for specific services such as business reply mail. (Also see Business Reply Mail, Indicia, and Permit Imprint.)
Piece is an individual letter, parcel, or similar mail item.
Piece Price is the amount of postage charged for each mail piece in addition to weight charges.
Plant-Verified Drop Shipment (PVDS) is a procedure that enables origin verification and postage payment for shipments that are transported from the mailer’s plant to the destination post office to be accepted as mail.
Platform is a digital system used to complete tasks and processes online by different users.
PO Box (Post Office Box) is a unique address given to a lockable box located in a post office to receive mail.
PO Box Only (Post Office Box Only) ZIP Code is only used for PO boxes at a specific facility. (Also see ZIP Code.)
Postage is the payment or fee for postal service that is represented on a mail piece, typically in the form of a stamp, meter stamp, or permit imprint.
Postage Statement is documentation provided to the USPS by a mailer that reports the volume of mail presented and the postage payment. A postage statement also verifies the mail as meeting eligibility standards for the class and price claimed.
Postcard is a privately printed mailing card usually made up of thick paper that doesn’t require an envelope. (Also see Stamped Card.)
POSTNET (See Postal Numeric Encoding Technique.)
Precancel is to cancel stamped mail, parcels, or packages before mailing to prevent a stamp from being used more than once. After a stamp has been precanceled, it is given a mark to indicate postage has been paid for.
Precanceled Stamp is a stamp canceled by marking across the face of the stamp before being sold to mailers for the use of discount mailings. Precanceled stamps can also be designated by the USPS without markings. Precanceled stamps are sold for presorted first-class mail, regular standard mail, and nonprofit standard mail. (Also see Precancel.)
Presort is the process of sorting mail according to ZIP code and as finely as possible according to the standards of the mail class claimed. Mail will be presorted in many steps before it reaches its final destination, from lowest to highest sort level.
Presort Accuracy Validation and Evaluation (PAVE) is a program that evaluates presort software to determine the software’s accuracy for sorting address files according to Domestic Mail Manual (DMM) standards. (Also see Domestic Mail Manual.)
Price List (Notice 123) is a publication containing the domestic and international postage prices and fees.
Pricing and Classification Service Center (PCSC) is a USPS field office for employees and customers that provides guidance on mail classification, postage prices, and mail preparation.
Printed Matter refers to mechanically printed materials that have reduced postage fees that are lower than first-class mail. Similar to bound printed matter, printed matter may also consist of magazines, books, booklets, brochures, and sometimes newspapers. (Also see Bound Printed Matter and Mail Class.)
Priority Mail is a mail class that offers fast delivery times at an affordable price, but delivery time is not as fast as priority mail express. Priority mail is commonly used for ecommerce since it is cost-effective and may offer special pricing. (Also see Mail Class.)
Priority Mail Express is a mail class that offers the fastest delivery time with and provides guaranteed one or two day expedited shipping if the package is entered by 3pm. Priority mail express is commonly used if packages need to be delivered quickly or if ecommerce businesses need to offer competitive options. It also includes $100 of insurance coverage for mail and packages. (Also see Mail Class.)
Process Optimization refers to examining and improving the processes in an organization through a new system, workflow, or set of tools.
Processing and Distribution Center/Facility (PDC/F) is a type of mail facility that processes and distributes incoming and outgoing mail for a designated area. A PDC/F provides instructions for mail preparation, dispatch schedules, and sorting plan requirements for mailers. It is typically a sectional center or general mail facility but can also function as a mail processing facility without a post office branch.
Prohibited Matter is any material illegal to mail because it poses risk to injure or kill an individual or damage other mail, including poisons, controlled substances, flammable material, and hazardous material.
PVDS (See Plant-Verified Drop Shipment.)
QBRM (See Qualified Business Reply Mail.)
Qualified Business Reply Mail (QBRM) is a type of business reply mail that is processed and rated by the use of automation, including the automated calculation of postage and fees. QBRM must meet specific qualifications and design specifications to be eligible for the lowest price available for business reply mail or reduced automation first-class mail postage. (Also see Business Reply Mail.)
Quick Service Guide is a publication of the overview of mail preparation and deposit according to specific mail classes.
Recognition is the identification of data or information. There are different types of recognition used in document management software:
OCR (Optical Character Recognition) is a program that can convert printed text and characters from a page into a document that can be read by a word processing program.
ICR (Intelligent Character Recognition) is an advanced form of OCR. ICR is a handwriting recognition system that converts manually written text into digital characters.
OMR (Optical Mark Reading) is a recognition process that captures data from documents, such as questionnaires or surveys, by reading marks made in pre-defined locations.
Records Management is the system for storing and managing records used as evidence of business transactions and activities. It controls the creation, use, maintenance, and disposition of information. Records management is also a feature of document management software.
Remote Access is the ability to access a computer in one location from another location.
Repository is the location where digital documents or business documents are stored.
Restricted Delivery is a service that limits who may receive an item or parcel, which guarantees that an item or parcel is only delivered to the addressee or recipient. Restricted delivery can be an additional service to certified mail. (Also see Certified Mail.)
Restricted Matter is a service that limits who may receive an item or parcel, which guarantees that an item or parcel is only delivered to the addressee or recipient. Restricted delivery can be an additional service to certified mail. (Also see Hazardous Material.)
Revision Control (Version Control) allows a document to revert to a previous version in order to maintain the integrity of the original document. If a document undergoes changes, each version is saved throughout the process of it being edited. Revision control and maintaining document integrity is a key component of document management.
Road Map refers to a plan that describes operations from start to finish.
Robotic Process Automation (RPA) is a term that describes software that automates human or manual tasks that are repetitive. RPA software works by using artificial intelligence (AI) to replicate human actions such as data entry, processing transactions, and responding to customer service queries.
RPA (See Robotic Process Automation.)
RR (See Rural Route.)
Rural Route (RR) is a rural delivery route traveled by a courier.
SaaS (Software as a Service) is a type of software licensing model where software use is offered on a subscription basis and is hosted by the owner of the software, not the subscriber of the software.
Scalability is the ability of a product or software to be able to expand from a small size to larger and larger sizes to support more of the business over time. Some document management products may not be able to scale so it is important to choose the correct document management solution.
Scanning is the process of transforming a physical paper document into a digital document using a scanner, copier, or other document management system. (Also see Document Imaging.)
SCF (See Sectional Center Facility.)
Scheme (Software as a Service) is a systemic plan for the distribution of mail to its destination.
Scheme Sort is a sort that allows mailers to combine mail pieces addresses to at least two different ZIP codes according to a scheme, or its plan for distribution. (Also see Scheme.)
Science-of-Agriculture Price is a price for periodicals available to an authorized mailer of agricultural publications.
Sectional Center Facility (SCF) is a postal facility that functions as a processing and distribution center, or PDC/F, for post offices in a designated location based on the first three digits of the ZIP codes of where the post offices are located.
Shipper Paid Forwarding (SPF) is a type of address change service (ACS) that allows mailers to pay forwarding charges for machinable standard mail and package services through approved participant codes. (Also see Address Change Service.)
Shortpaid Mail refers to mail that has additional postage collected upon delivery.
Signature Confirmation is a service that provides information to the mailer including delivery date and time, recipient signature, or date and time of the delivery attempt. There are two types of signature confirmation:
Electronic Signature Confirmation involves applying barcodes to each mail piece, providing electronic files, and retrieving delivery status electronically.
Retail Signature Confirmation involves retrieving delivery status through the retailer’s website, for example using a tracking code to retrieve delivery status on the USPS or FEDEX websites.
Single Piece is a postage price for individual mail pieces belonging to one of these classes: express mail, priority mail, first-class mail, parcel post, media mail, and library mail. Single piece pricing is not available for periodicals except for basic price categories.
Skew refers to the misalignment or slant of a barcode or the characters, lines, and bars of a barcode according to the bottom of top edge of the mail piece.
Sleeve is a jacket consisting of paperboard that fits over a mail tray in order to contain the mail pieces inside the tray and prevent them from falling out.
Software as a Service (See SaaS.)
Software Developer Kit (SDK) is a collection of software development tools that allow a business or organization to create applications that support a business’s process.
SPF (See Shipper Paid Forwarding.)
Standard Mail is a mail class consisting of regular standard mail, nonprofit standard mail, carrier route standard mail, and nonprofit carrier route standard mail. Standard mail is also called marketing mail and includes circulars, catalogues, newsletters, merchandise, pamphlets, and merchandise. (Also see Mail Class and Marketing Mail.)
Standard ZIP Code refers to all ZIP codes other than unique, PO box only, and military. (Also see Zip Code.)
Subclass is a subcategory of mail class and is based off of the physical classification of mail rather than content. (Also see Mail Class.)
Tap Test is a method used to check if mail meets the required regulations. A tap test is done by tapping each side of the mail piece and the delivery address on each mail piece must always remain visible with ⅛” clearance.
Tasks are a sequence of actions or defined workflows that move documents according to a business’s process.
Taxonomy is the structure of how documents are classified in a repository or digital filing system.
Title 39 of the United States Code (39 USC) refers to the portion of the USC that outlines the role and laws of the USPS. (Also see United States Code.)
Top Cap is a material used to create a flat surface underneath a pallet to protect mail while supporting the weight of a pallet.
UAA (See Undeliverable-as-Addressed.)
Undeliverable-as-Addressed (UAA) refers to mail that cannot be delivered as originally addressed. UAA mail must be forwarded to the addressee, returned to sender, or sent to a mail recovery center.
Unique ZIP Code is a ZIP code given to a specific company, government agency, or organization that has a sufficient volume of mail. A unique ZIP code is assigned based on the average daily volume of letter-sized mail an organization receives, the availability of ZIP codes in that given area, and a cost-benefit analysis conducted by the USPS. (Also see ZIP Code.)
United States Code (USC) is the official restatement of general and permanent laws of the Unites States of America.
Unstructured Data is unorganized or unordered data.
Verification is the process of determining whether mail has been prepared properly and has proper postage payment.
Version Control (See Revision Control.)
Walk Sequence refers to the order a carrier delivers mail along a route. A walk sequence is required for most presort mail.
WCMS (See Web Content Management System.)
Web Content Management System (WCMS) is a process that is a part of Content Management that specializes in maintaining, changing, controlling, or rearranging web content.
WKG is an abbreviation for “working.” WKG is used on mail container labels to identify the mail still needs to be worked, or sorted and distributed.
Workflow is a defined process in which tasks or processes are completed. Workflows enforce business rules, set escalation schedules, and follow authorization procedures while documents and related information are being processed.
ZIP Code is a system consisting of five-digit codes used to identify an individual post office or metropolitan area delivery station associated with specific addresses. ZIP stands for “Zone Improvement Plan.” There are four major types of ZIP codes: PO box, unique, military, and standard.
Unique ZIP Code is a ZIP code given to a specific company, government agency, or organization that has a sufficient volume of mail. A unique ZIP code is assigned based on the average daily volume of letter-sized mail an organization receives, the availability of ZIP codes in that given area, and a cost-benefit analysis conducted by the USPS.
PO Box Only (Post Office Box Only) ZIP Code is only used for PO boxes at a specific facility.
Military Zip Code is a ZIP code used to route mail for the US military.
Standard Zip Code refers to all ZIP codes other than unique, PO box only, and military.
ZIP+4 Barcode is a nine-digit POSTNET barcode that is made up of 52 vertical bars. (Also see Postal Numeric Encoding Technique).
ZIP+4 Code is a nine-digit code consisting of two parts: 1) the initial code and the first five digits that identify a sectional center facility associated with an address and 2) a four-digit expanded code with the first two digits designating the sector or geographic area and the last two digits designating the segment or a building or floor.
Zone Chart refers to the USPS Official National Zone Chart Data Program that is distributed and produced by the USPS using geological survey files of established coordinates to determine the distance between the origin and destination ZIP codes. Zone charts are also used by postage meters to determine the price of printed postage.