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Organizing reference material...

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  • Organizing reference material...

    I just finished reading GTD and I can't decide how to organize my reference material. My ref material include books, large manuals, small manuals, binders, magazines, and or course individual sheets of paper.

    GTD emphasizes putting all ref material in a single A-Z reference system. A bookcase would be fine for the larger items but is not very convenient for individual sheets of paper. I don't want to place books and large manuals in a file drawer.

    Should I just have two separate places to file things and get on with it?


    Andy

  • #2
    Originally posted by ahackwor View Post
    I can't decide how to organize my reference material. My ref material include books, large manuals, small manuals, binders, magazines, and or course individual sheets of paper.
    I have reference materials in 4 places.

    File cabinets contain an a-z set of files with single papers, small booklets and other typical small bits of paper.

    Computer Disk contains a bunch of misc folders, this is an action for me to clean up. Right now I have folders of larger groups (sheep stuff, garden stuff, medieval textiles and so on with sub-folders within it containing a variety of source materials, PDF documents, my own docs in a variety of formats, picture files, notes etc.

    E-mail file on computer has a folder for reference where everything I save is in there. I also have e-mail folders for each list I am on to separate things and also for orders pending and orders received.

    Bookcases contain all books, binders and so on. My books are separated into fiction and non-fiction. Fiction is alphabetical by author and within author either in sequence of the timeline of the universe it's about or alphabetical by title. Non-fiction is grouped by subject in a rough alphabetical order but not exact. Within a subject I group by size of book, more detailed subject or date. So for example most of my farm reference books are on 5 bookcases. Within that I have a shelf of large size books. Going left to right on that shelf I have Garden stuff first general reference then specific ones, then poultry, chickens then ducks then geese, then sheep, general, then more specific sheep color references and sheep genetics books then water rights stuff.

    The shelf down from that holds medium size books and it is all sheep related. Sheep general reference on the left, then sheep medical, then breeding management, then history then wool.

    I ahve a shelf of newsletters I keep for reference, they are in date order. My historical ag books are all in order by publication date.

    The only thing that really matters is can you find a book you need when you need it.

    Comment


    • #3
      You could put placeholder pages into your file system right where you'd put the book if the book was just a single page. The placeholder would tell you where to actually look to find it.

      Comment


      • #4
        Anything physical that can fit into a plain manila folder goes into my A-Z reference system in my filing cabinets. Everything else goes onto bookshelves, organized by category (programming books here, religious books there, etc.).

        Comment


        • #5
          If you want to synchronise computer reference files between many machines, consider a synchronisation tool such as Live Mesh www.mesh.com.I discovered this just over a month ago and for what I need it is Awesome - you barely know it is even there. Other similar things probably exist. They may be better.

          However it does NOT back up against user error (delete a file and it gets deleted everywhere) so you would still need a backup solution.

          It DOES back up against one of your computers catching fire or disks failing, whcih is nice

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          • #6
            Originally posted by ahackwor View Post
            Should I just have two separate places to file things and get on with it?
            Yep, in practice it's not a problem. Indeed, you already have several places in which you file things. Where's your flour?

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Brent View Post
              Yep, in practice it's not a problem. Indeed, you already have several places in which you file things. Where's your flour?
              That's project support material, not reference material!

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              • #8
                Thanks for the replies. I'll just have two separate locations instead of trying to shoe-horn everything into one.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Roger View Post
                  You could put placeholder pages into your file system right where you'd put the book if the book was just a single page. The placeholder would tell you where to actually look to find it.
                  That's the same I'm using. I'm using a web enabled tool, and I just capture a note on where the physical book is in the library.

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