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  • David's Ultimate Filing System

    In 'General Reference Filing' PDF (free downloads from David) it says:

    "The ultimate filing system files by number with a computerized crossreference database that tags topics with specific files."

    What does that mean? Can someone elaborate on such a system? Are we talking about a system similar to a library reference system (681 = plants, 681.1 = indoor plants)?

    Or is it just numbers from 1 to x and you rely on your crossreference database to know where something is?

    Thanks in advance.

  • #2
    maybe Paper Tiger

    I think this might be something like PaperTiger. I know one lovable "OCD-type" who swears by this system but found it too tedious for his finacial records. He has to do a computer search anytime he needs to find something. I do think that a system, like a Dewey, that gives you an idea of where to look is the ultimate. Would love to hear if anyone is using something like this.

    Comment


    • #3
      I assume David means a bunch of files that are identified only by a number. There's then a computer system with many, many tags that are linked to various file numbers.

      So, the tag "Writing" may be linked to files 312, 54, and 910. The content in file 910 might relate to multiple different tags.

      Comment


      • #4
        I wrote a bit about it here, if you're interested:

        Some recent GTD how-tos, tips, and tricks - Indexing filing systems
        http://ideamatt.blogspot.com/2007/07...#indexed-files

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Brent View Post
          I assume David means a bunch of files that are identified only by a number. There's then a computer system with many, many tags that are linked to various file numbers.

          So, the tag "Writing" may be linked to files 312, 54, and 910. The content in file 910 might relate to multiple different tags.
          @ Brent:

          Can you expand more on this system you're describing. I think you mean that files 312, 54 and 910 are just added to the system in the order they appear in your life. Kind of like del.icio.us? You can add bookmarks in any order, but locate them using a tag search.

          Comment


          • #6
            @ Cornell

            How do you use a simple a-z system like the one's lots of people including you describe? I get the a-z idea, how do you know where things go by context? So as someone else mentioned, how do I know if I added paper for project x by project or by x?

            Comment


            • #7
              If x = x there is no problem.

              Originally posted by blair_one View Post
              how do I know if I added paper for project x by project or by x?
              If x = x there is no problem. A-Z filing system is flat - not hierarchical. No categories and subcategories.

              Comment


              • #8
                We use a numerical filing system for our scientific references (more than 10,000 at last count).

                The documents are assigned a number when they come into the system, and the number is written on the front page of the document usually in red pen.

                We track the items using "Reference Manager" software, which allows searching by any of the authors, year of publication, journal name, keys words, etc.

                Since many references are available via pdf these days, we also keep an electronic filing system, with file names as reference numbers, i.e. 9554.pdf for reference number 9554. This let's us purge the hard copies, freeing up lots of file cabinet space.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by blair_one View Post
                  @ Brent:

                  Can you expand more on this system you're describing. I think you mean that files 312, 54 and 910 are just added to the system in the order they appear in your life. Kind of like del.icio.us? You can add bookmarks in any order, but locate them using a tag search.
                  Yes, that's what I mean.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Evernote

                    Now I get it...

                    It appears to me that whenever you have to file something, you create an entry in some sort of catalog software, a numeric one, that you use to label the physical asset. Then on the catalog you "describe" the content by typing tags, a short abstract, or whatever you like.

                    This would work even with notepad and textfiles + Googledesktop... interesting...

                    In my particular case, this posts triggered me a wonderful idea. I am giving a try to Evenote software in these days and it might be the good fit for recording the information in the reference file (Note: I am not associated in any way to Evernote).

                    The way that I plan to use it, is to add a new Evernote entry (hitting Ctrl-Alt-N from anywhere in Windows takes it to it) and type the label of the folder/asset in the first line (it becomes the title). Then write down a number of "tags" simply by typing them below that first line.

                    So whenever I want to look for something, I can do find for either the tags or parts of the label and voilá, everything appears instantly, as in google desktop .

                    You might want to build a whole hierarchy of categories that you could add by drag and drop to the new entry while editing it, or you could also define special keywords that any doc that has them, get assigned corresponding categories (eg: if it contains "@cats" it gets assigned category "Cats", and so).

                    I might agree to type in something like "@ref" to every entry for a physical asset so I can narrow my search to only physical data whenever I want to. I then define a category "Physical Reference" and associate that keyword to it, so whenever an entry has it, I know it's from a physical asset. I can then click on that category and have a full view of my physical reference data.

                    The beauty of evernote is that is the perfect software for reference information. It has a very nice web-clipper, it's a snap to store your contacts and copy-and-paste any information you come across and find-out to store for future reference (you can do it without going to it, you just edit-copy on the software you are using and then typ ctrl-alt-V and it gets into evernote).

                    I also use it to manage my @lists also in a similar fashion. I found out to be very productive to have it at the press of a keystroke and be ready to type anything I need, much like those Mac interfases with quicksilver, so I collect instantly what comes to mind and keep with the flow of the task at hand.

                    Hope this helps. And will let you know how I evolve with this "reference idea".

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Groups of files

                      So if I have a folder (electronic or paper) for say 'talks I have given' can I put that whole folder in the T folder in an alpha reference? Or would it be better to file each talk by topic?

                      Or is that a question only I can answer

                      Ta.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Where will I look if I'll be searching for it?

                        Originally posted by blair_one View Post
                        Or is that a question only I can answer
                        Yes, but before filing the item ask yourself:

                        "Where will I look if I'll be searching for it?"

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          I think what I really mean is, it is a good practice to have subfolders in an alpha reference system? Or is it better to keep it completely flat.

                          Perhaps the challenge is filing physical objects vs. viewing electronic data grouped however you like.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by blair_one View Post
                            I think what I really mean is, it is a good practice to have subfolders in an alpha reference system? Or is it better to keep it completely flat.

                            Perhaps the challenge is filing physical objects vs. viewing electronic data grouped however you like.
                            Not really - I'd not go more than two levels in any filing system, partly because I've seen too many people with electronic data like a vast sea beast with tentacles everywhere.

                            I have a two-level system in my filing cabinet: I've got major categories, like Marketing, Superannuation, Workshop Ideas, etc, and within that I've got a folder for each aspect, such as Bowden Printing, Radio ads, Super statements, Super terms and conditions, and so on. The major categories are just stand-up stick-on labels on a folder that will always be part of that category, while the sub-categories are shown by labels on each folder.

                            Do what works best for you, I think. Depends on how much stuff you've got, how many different categories and sub-categories, and all sorts of other things. Just don't use hanging folders.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Oook, that was a long and wiffly one. I'll try again.

                              Shorter Alison: one of the reasons for the NAs and context lists is to deal with the overwhelm you're struggling with. Use them conscientiously and they'll help.

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