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  • Anal retentive habits - new filing system

    Hello Bill and others...
    I've been sold on powermarks for the last week with regard to my bookmarks and I can see that I'll be much more organised with the realms of info I need to store and later retrieve. It's bliss!!
    I"ve also taken the plunge and started making references to my hard copy a-z files via powermarks and I'm so impressed with how easy that seems. The hardest thing I've found is to let go of 'having to' group the files together like they were grouped in the previous a-z system.
    If others have used this paper tiger type or powermarks system (Cosmo etal) how have they found the transition to releasing the need to keep things systematically grouped. I KNOW that I will be able to find things by searching for keywords but it just doesn't seem 'natural' to spread them out and not keep them in alpha order like they were previously.
    Perhaps it's just teething problems and once I get used to it I'll be ok.
    Once I've got the system flowing I think I'll be persuading clients to do it as well so I'm really hoping this system will shine!
    Thanks.... Helen

  • #2
    Helen:

    re: transition transition to releasing the need to keep things systematically grouped

    Well, I never made the transition. I keep both a-z and numbered files. I found that either system by itself is simpler, but there is some need for both. So, with the attitude of making it as simple as needed but no simpler, I decided to keep both.

    It takes a little mental discipline, but, I follow the rules below:

    Put it in the a-z file when:
    1- There is already a heading that matches.
    2- It naturally seems like the place for it. That means I'm likely to remember the file heading when I am looking for the document in the future.
    3- I expect to have many documents on one subject, and see the future need to take them to a meeting, on a trip, etc. It is much easier to grab an a-z file on "Project management tips" then to extract 23 individual documents from the numbered file.


    Put it in the numbered file when:
    1- It doesn't fit any rules for the a-z file
    2- It is a one-of-a-kind document that I want to keep forever.
    3- I can't decide what file heading it belongs to in the a-z file. Or, it belongs to many. I feel like I will never find it in the future if I file it under a-z.
    4- It is confidential - my numbered file is in a more secure (locked) drawer than my a-z files.
    5-It is something that I will want to make sure I can find, can't lose, know I had, etc. Since each of these docs has a specific number, I can tell if one is missing. I can tell I had it once, etc. With the a-z file, if I look under the heading "Technical Reference" and can't find my "Paper sizes and weights" chart, I wonder "did I throw it away at the last purge?" or, "did I really file it, or maybe I threw it away and thought I filed it?" or, "did I lend it to someone, or did someone borrow it from me (take from drawer)?" or, "did I file it under a different heading? Maybe I made a 'Paper Facts' file?"
    6-It is a document that I want an assistant to be able to fetch easily when I tell him to. Since I carry the index to the numbered file with me in laptop and palm, I can phone in and say "fax me document #37" and know that he will send me the right one quickly. This is much easier than saying "fax me the paper weights chart that you'll find either in Technical Reference or Paper Facts or Conversion Charts. I forget the exact title on the top, but it has a column of paper sizes on the left, with their ream weights on the right. Or, was it the ream weights on the left. Anyway, see if you can find something like that and fax it to me."
    7-It is something that I want to put back in the right place each time. Since I write the file number on the top corner of the document, I'm sure to put it back where it belongs. With the a-z, I have sometimes forgotten which file I plucked it from.

    -Ken

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    • #3
      powermarks for Macintosh

      Does anyone know anay powermarks similar apps for Macintoshes?

      Thanks

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by kglade

        ...I never made the transition. I keep both a-z and numbered files. I found that either system by itself is simpler, but there is some need for both. So, with the attitude of making it as simple as needed but no simpler, I decided to keep both.
        Ken,

        I just took up Powermarks at Bill Kratz's suggestion about a week ago and I like it a lot. I also like your -more realistic- approach of keeping some A-Z file, when it makes sense.

        However, as I am trying to implement the numbered system, I have a question about how you keep the numbered files. It sounds to me that each and every piece of paper (ie each leter, each article from a magazine, or each chinese restaurant menu) will end up in a separate folder. This way, there will be hundreds of 1-page folders and I wonder how practical that is...

        Please share your experience.

        Thank you,

        Calin

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        • #5
          I have to take some exception to my friend Ken's logic. As I mentioned in a post in another thread, I do keep Project, Client and Accounting files in separate alpha or date-sorted systems. However, for Reference filing, I think having both numeric and alpha systems is inefficient and asking for trouble.

          Firstly, it just invites getting bogged down in thinking about the "rules", trying to decide where to put something. Once again, I think this filing thing needs to be as automatic and mindless as possible.

          Secondly, with the Powermarks setup, anything can be found so quickly that I see no advantage in some items being stored in some other system.

          Thirdly, simplify, simplify, simplify! A single-minded system is inherently simpler, more efficient, and less likely to leak.

          Just my opinions.

          Comment


          • #6
            One other point that I should make -- I consider my Reference filing system to contain both physical files and web-based info. If I want to search for reference info on a topic (keyword), I like to see both kinds of info in a consolidated list. With the Powermarks approach, this happens simply and efficiently.

            Comment


            • #7
              Calin:

              In another thread "Filing tip - super simple..." I think we are discussing the same thing.

              Re: hundreds of single folders

              I might have hundreds of single documents but only 10 - 20 folders because I put multiple docs (maybe 25) in each.

              Note that in my system, each doc has its own number, not each subject. This is an important feature for me.

              In actual practice, after two years, I have around 100 documents in 4 folders. Periodically, I review the numbered file and purge or re-file in the a-z file some of the documents.

              Comment


              • #8
                As we are talking about scanning and everything (what I am starting doing), I would like to get you attention on paperport:

                When I scan a document (as bitmap or .BMP, 150 dpi Black and white), it is sent to the paperport desktop. I then convert it to PDF file (and also compressed then, without loss). And... get this: you can then STACK your single pdf files into a new multipage PDF file. You can then add meaningfull comments and keywords to search later on.

                So, for example all my Visa Statements for 2003 are in the same file, cleanely ordered.

                This is one of the nicest software I have ever owned, clean and VERY user friendly.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Anonymous

                  When I scan a document (as bitmap or .BMP, 150 dpi Black and white), it is sent to the paperport desktop. I then convert it to PDF file (and also compressed then, without loss). And... get this: you can then STACK your single pdf files into a new multipage PDF file. You can then add meaningfull comments and keywords to search later on.

                  So, for example all my Visa Statements for 2003 are in the same file, cleanely ordered.

                  This is one of the nicest software I have ever owned, clean and VERY user friendly.
                  I am wondering how accurate your OCR function is on Paperport, in other words how reliably does it convert to PDF? My scanner came with an OCR program (TextBridge 8.0 by Xerox), which is appalingly inacurate; I would say about 50%, which renders it useless. Is Paperport that much better? That would be a great relief... I collect hundreds of articles per month and my physical reference file is bulging out of 8 drawers. My problem is not the retrieval or organization, but the thought that there is no backup for all that information makes me very uneasy. Being able to scan everything and than convert -reliably- to PDF would be a godsent, because the article content could be searcheable beyond keywords with a tool such as Enfish...

                  Even if the PDF conversion is not reliable, I am thinking more and more about just storing the image file as a backup, on CDROM. Just out of curiousity, based on your scanning experience, what would you consinder the minimum resloution acceptable for scanning? What size image files do you obtain, per page...

                  Calin

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Paperport vs. OCR

                    All -

                    From my personal experience, I don't believe Paperport & OCR are one and the same. I believe all Paperport does is a "quick & easy" scanning method (faster than an older flatbed scanner). From that point - it's up to you what you want to do with the document - tiff; jpeg; pict; or good old fashioned Photoshop.

                    The earlier poster chooses to save these image files as a PDF - which is a very user-friendly format with comparably small file sizes. A PDF is limited in its text editing capabilities; because the computer doesn't see it as "text" - it sees it more like an image

                    You could also run these images through any OCR program; but that would be an entirely separate process, which would convert them to either Word or plain text files - both of which would be "live" and editable.

                    The OCR function would also destroy the integrity of anything like a Credit Card Statement; which you may need to produce in the future to dispute a charge, etc...

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Paperport

                      Been using Paperport for several years. It was always innovative - now it is finally stable

                      PP has its own OCR engine which is necessary for its capability of providing full-text searches of any document. I rarely scan docs with PP. I use it extensively as a virtual printer for web pages. Just "print" to PP to generate a PDF or PP-format (called a .max file) for reading on your screen, printing in the future, and searching using full-text (and fuzzy) searches. Perfect for archiving news stories. It's one of the few programs that I can't live without.

                      PP also can link to other programs for output. This includes e-mail and other OCR programs. Check out www.scansoft.com

                      Julian

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