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  • Digital Filing System

    Hello Everyone,

    I am a new convert (from Franklin-Covey) method. I am a consultant and I work at multiple client sites, and even when in the office the office uses Hoteling so I do not have cabinet space and so on.

    What I would like to know if someone has worked out a digital system of storage vs. a file system (for most of the things at least). The problem I would have if I instituted a file system is that I would never have access to them accept at home.

    So what I was thinking of doing is creating a system where I would have an encrypted disk (utilizing PGP software) where I could store all the documents that belong in the files. What I would do is scan them and convert them to digital format, and then file them accordingly.

    So what do you think? Has anyone does this, any ideas?

  • #2
    USB flash drive ?

    You can put a lot in a USB flash drive and connect it at any PC with a USB port. Some security-conscious sites may not permit this put many will. You can, of course bring a Palm, but the volume of data is much lower.

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by ProfDD
      You can put a lot in a USB flash drive and connect it at any PC with a USB port. Some security-conscious sites may not permit this put many will. You can, of course bring a Palm, but the volume of data is much lower.
      You misunderstand, I carry my laptop with me all the time, and my PocketPC PDA. I am fine with the information strategies, as to how to back it up, carry it with me, transfer it to PDA.

      What I need is to figure out if anyone else is doing it and what challenges they have.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by yuryg
        So what do you think? Has anyone does this, any ideas?
        So, is the bottom line that you're going to scan paper into computer files (PDFs or TIFs or something)?

        If so, MADNESS MADNESS MADNESS!

        I started doing that several years ago, using PaperPort. It's just too time consuming and takes up too much space. It *sounds* wonderful, but never worked for me.

        *Maybe* you could consider only scanning the subset of docs that you really need to lug around?

        --

        Comment


        • #5
          If you're going to do that, PaperPort is the tool to use. It has reasonable OCR for searches, good annotation tools, tools to unstack and restack the pages of files, etc.

          But I agree with the poster who said scanning everything is a lot of work for not much benefit. IMO, if your company expects you to carry paper files, then your company should give you a place to put them.

          But they don't agree. Okay. Then I'd combine PaperPort with a ruthless pruning strategy. Only scan things that you are absolutely certain you're going to need.

          Katherine

          Comment


          • #6
            Please expand on the difficulties, YuryG

            I clearly misunderstood and think I still do. Could you expand on your experiences so far ? Some folks might have analogous experiences, even if not a close match to yours.

            Comment


            • #7
              I guess the reason you want everything digital is that you can take it all with you on your laptop and access to all of it when you are out of the office. Right?

              I would examine how often you would need to pull a document on the fly v. the time required to convert your paper to digital stuff. Sure, take with you the paper folder you would reasonablly foresee needing with a client, etc., but I don't think anybody would expect you to take your whole filing cabinet with you.

              I would say as long as you have a good system for recording what paper files you need to access when you get back at the office and getting back with people within a reasonable amount of time, you are in better shape than just about everybody anyway.

              Frank

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Frank Buck
                I guess the reason you want everything digital is that you can take it all with you on your laptop and access to all of it when you are out of the office. Right?
                Frank
                yes the only problem is!! I do not have an office. I am at a client site for a day, a week, a month, etc. It is one after another... so I have no access to documents at all.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Portable hot-item project and alpha files

                  If you aren't going to be revising a document, you probably don't NEED it in electronic form. A modest amount of selectivity would reduce the number of paper documents worth carrying to a very small number. Paper does have some inherent advantages (very low power requirement, usable in many ambient conditions, multi-user in near-Bluetooth range, etc.). Other papers worth carrying include receipts (for the tax man) and brochures with info you can't get online. They are just being collected and transported to the appropriate stationery files. For the papers you might need to carry and refer to, either project folders, for major groups of paper docs, and an alpha accordion folder, for lesser groups of docs, should do the trick.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Scanning documents

                    I am scanning invoices at my job with Adobe Acrobat 7 Pro.
                    1] Scan about 20 pages at a time.
                    2] extract & sort in the appropriate folders naming them too

                    This is time consuming but I usually set it up & walk away while the scan is going on because it is resource hungry. It can take up to a 1/2 hours depending on how many.

                    I am not sure I like this. I may just have to go back to photocopy of the invoices. (The originals go to accounts payable - these are just my backup copies.)

                    The concept is very inviting but the end result isn't worthy of the time. I don't have a super scanner either, it's an HP Officejet d145.

                    If I had to have copies of this kind of stuff & wanted to process them quickly I'd actually consider using a good digital camera. I got a 5 megapixel that does a very decent readable photo of documents. (When I do this I feel like a secret agent man!)

                    Just my input...

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by jerendeb
                      I am scanning invoices at my job with Adobe Acrobat 7 Pro.
                      1] Scan about 20 pages at a time.
                      2] extract & sort in the appropriate folders naming them too

                      This is time consuming but I usually set it up & walk away while the scan is going on because it is resource hungry. It can take up to a 1/2 hours depending on how many.

                      If I had to have copies of this kind of stuff & wanted to process them quickly I'd actually consider using a good digital camera. I got a 5 megapixel that does a very decent readable photo of documents. (When I do this I feel like a secret agent man!)
                      The problem is the scanner you are using, typically for a black and white document it takes one pass scan on a descent scanner (I use a $100 Cannon USB Scanner). The proper resolution is important on the scan, as it shoud take less then 1 minute to scan the document.

                      The digital camera is not so great a solution, because by the time you get the camera centered properly, press the button and see if it comes out takes more time then the scan SHOULD take.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Does anybody have any suggestions for what resolution to scan at and whether b/w is sufficient, or whether grey scale is better. I am looking at the trade off both in terms of speed and also size of storage.

                        I travel about 30-40% of my time, but being able to access certain info while I am away would be really beneficial, esp. as I can be away for 2-3 weeks before getting back to the office.

                        Scanning does take time and I am not sure of the value in scanning everything but there is certain critical info and docs that come across my desk that I can see value in scanning - faxes (in and out), regular mail (bills etc) that is worth keeping, certain articles I would like to access when out and about.

                        Thanks

                        Paul

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Getting a multi-sheet feed scanner will help a lot. Some of the HP OfficeJets have that feature.

                          I think if it's just text, scanning at 150 dpi, B&W, is sufficient.

                          I use Microsoft Office 2003's built-in Scan/OCR features.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            I have a 97% digital filing system. The 3% go into a physical filing system (mostly for receipts).

                            Here's my process:
                            1. Keep as much as possible in digital format from the beginning.

                            2. Keep a "To Scan" folder always with me. I put things to scan and file in there during the week and empty it once a week.

                            3. I scan using a fast scanner... no flatbeds, no officejets. That takes forever. I think the minimum is the Fujitsu Scansnap. It's duplex and fairly fast. I've been using it myself. I would prefer an even fast scanner if I could get my hands on one.

                            4. Clear digital organization. I have my folders very clearly laid out. I put my quick launch bar on my left side of the xp desktop, so I always see all of my main folders. They are organized so I can get to everything quickly and everything is in order.

                            5. I make frequent backups of all my files.
                            a. every few weeks - ms outlook file
                            b. every month or so - important personal data (about 1 gb)
                            c. every couple months - all data on my notebook (10 gb)
                            d. ongoing - other data

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by daveklee
                              I have a 97% digital filing system. The 3% go into a physical filing system (mostly for receipts).


                              4. Clear digital organization. I have my folders very clearly laid out. I put my quick launch bar on my left side of the xp desktop, so I always see all of my main folders. They are organized so I can get to everything quickly and everything is in order.
                              You are just the person I have been looking for, would you mind going in to a system that you use for filing. Is it same as the paper filing system described in GTD or is it something modified. Being on a computer I thing it might be modified to organize it better. Can you please let us know.

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