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  • Reference: General vs Specialized

    What is the difference between a general reference and a specialized reference?

    When should you organized by topic, person, company etc rather than an A-Z alphabetical filing order?

  • #2
    Originally posted by curtis View Post
    What is the difference between a general reference and a specialized reference? When should you organized by topic, person, company etc rather than an A-Z alphabetical filing order?
    Hey, Curtis,

    It depends on your individual needs. Do you work at an office? Maybe keeping separate A-Z systems is a good idea, then, with one at the office and a second at home.

    I have one A-Z reference system in a large filing cabinet (I work out of my home). I store our accounting in the same cabinet, but in its own section by year and month. I have all of my manuals filed in a separate box next to the cabinet sorted by type (e.g. large kitchen appliances, hand tools, software etc). So everything for me is in one location, but I do have separations based on content.

    I'm also scanning a LOT of my files into Evernote so I can dump the paper and free up some space. So it's really up to you. What makes the best sense for all of your stuff?

    Dena

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    • #3
      Half a File Drawer

      Files which need to be shared and stored accordingly get their own space; for instance, in my previous position, I was a Student Services secretary. There were 2,000 student academic files in my possession, but they weren't "my" files, obviously, and lived in a centralized filing system rather than in my drawers.

      When it comes to your own files, David suggests you should break things out into a separate drawer when you get to half a file drawer's worth of files on that one topic, which I've found to be a good rule of thumb. Right now, I'm lucky enough that my general reference system all fits in two file drawers. I have one drawer that is A-Z with just general stuff, and one drawer that is only for classes, conferences, and papers for my Ph.D. program.

      If there are only a handful of files in any given category, you can just put the category on the label and file them A-Z. For instance, I'm learning a new hobby of photography, and so I have a few files like "Camera—Rebel," "Camera—Powershot," "Camera—Outdoor Photography" etc. It keeps them bunched together in the drawer, but there aren't so many that they can't just all get filed under "c"

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