A scan description language (SDL) system and method are provided for managing a scan job. The method comprises: scanning a document at a scanning device; constructing a scan job using SDL commands; partially performing the scan job at the scanning device in response to the SDL commands; and, partially performing the scan job at a node connected to the scanning device in response to the SDL commands. The scan job can be constructed at a scanning device front panel, a connected web page, or a client connected to the scanning device. Likewise, the scan job can be initiated from a front panel of the scanning device, a connected client, or a connected web page. Further, the scan job may be partially performed a locally connected client, a network-connected client, a network-connected server, a locally connected server, another scanning device, or a telephone network-connected client.