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indexing the filing archive??

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  • indexing the filing archive??

    I have created a A-Z filing system which so far consist of two, 2 drawers filing cabinets (filling up fast). Now I start to have problem in remembering under what alphabetic name I archived particular refenrences. I understand that I would need an extra index list which describes tha content of my filing cabinets, to help me quickly to locate refecense matarial when needed.

    I work as a scientist in industrial recearch, and from my student days I created (and still maintain) an archive of scientific papers, and have a home made microsoft access database. Each time a paper is added, i record Author, title, journal and some key word i the database and put the particular paper in a numbered filebox. This particular archive now consist of 40 fileboxes, to find a particlar paper I must search the database and browse through the content of one file box.

    My A to Z archive have no such database and I understand that I will have problem in locating stuff when the archive grow large.

    Any advise from others on this forthcoming problem?

  • #2
    I file my reference material under whatever name seems logical at the time. Sometimes I forget where I've filed things, because there may be two or thee possible places I could have filed them, but I rarely have to check more than 3 files to locate any particular item. I feel it's easier to occasionally check three or four files if necessary, than it is to maintain a database which I'd have to remember to update every time I filed something new. Keep it simple is my advice.


    • #3
      You can create an index using Word, Wordperfect, or Excel.

      I use Excel, and create three columns to index each document I file. The columns are the numeric order, Title of the Document, and Word description.

      I then file the document in a manila folder in the file cabinet in numeric order. I use the hand held labelers made by Brother and Dymo to keep everything neat. Each manila file folder has its own sequentially numbered label.

      I then sort the Excel file index A-Z by Title and make it my no. 1. manila folder in the file cabinet. It is fairly easy to "run your eye" down the title index to find and retrieve the document you need.

      At first I tried labeling the folders A-Z as I believe you are trying to do and sorting using purely that system without sequential numbering. It was a big mess. I suggest you switch back to alpha-numeric numbering for the files and sort the file index A-Z as mentioned above.

      Good luck!

      Danny Hardesty


      • #4
        Take a cue from book indexes, and create cross-references. After each term you might use to look up an item, write "see" and give the name of its actual location.


        • #5
          Index with keyword searches

          I use Excel as a free-form database to index my paper files, along with phone notes, hyperlinks, any reference materials all in one big list in chronological order. My list is now about 5,000 lines long after 20 months of use. My file Folders are sequentialy numbered 1 , 2 , 3 ..............

          Here is an example search that I ran to locate all paper files with the Keyword Acme:

          I entered the two keywords "FileFolder" & "Acme" into the magic search tool and had these results in 3 seconds.

          11 matches for: FileFolder ( 1 Seconds ) within 100 matches for: Acme ( 2 Seconds ) Activity
          6-Dec-04 Example text containing the word "Acme" FileFolder 237
          9/2/2005 Example text containing the word "Acme" FileFolder 447 example hyperlink here
          9/9/2005 Example text containing the word "Acme" FileFolder 451
          11/11/2005 Example text containing the word "Acme" FileFolder 486
          12/5/2005 Example text containing the word "Acme" FileFolder 500
          12/5/2005 Example text containing the word "Acme" FileFolder 500 example hyperlink here
          12/10/2005 Example text containing the word "Acme" FileFolder 504
          1/17/2006 Example text containing the word "Acme" FileFolder 531
          1/17/2006 Example text containing the word "Acme" FileFolder 531
          2/9/2006 Example text containing the word "Acme" FileFolder 553 example hyperlink here
          2/14/2006 Example text containing the word "Acme" FileFolder 447
          There is a description of this system Here:

          You can download a file with the search tools here: and add your own items to the list.