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Digital archive

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  • Digital archive

    David mentioned a normal archive with file folders and a filing cabinet. But how do you set up a digital archive with reference material etc.? Is this in the same way you do in a normal filing cabinet: just in alphabetical order, or is it more searchable on the computer when you put the files in categories?


  • #2

    How you set it up depends on you and what works for you.

    Here is what we do:

    I'm a scientists and have a collection of more that 10,000 publications. Each one gets entered in a database (we use reference manager - but any relational database would do), each is assigned a number, and each gets one of more keywords.

    Usually the article is available as a pdf, so each pdf gets renamed with R- plus the reference number, so R-1.pdf is the first and R-8754.pdf is the 8754th.

    Each pdf is saved on our server. To aid in management, files are groups in thousands, so the folder names are names like "2000-2999".

    - Don


    • #3
      I use a system similar to the on of the above poster. But instead of maintaining a database I just put the keyword info into the filename (eg 080711-gtd-synapsis-lemonjuice.pdf). For files where this is not suitable I create subfolders (ie folder: "080711-lemonstand-business" and then the files "lemon1.gif, lemon2.gif, ice-water.jpeg" inside this folder.

      ( On my highly amazing blog I have a short list with articles I found helpful with this: )


      • #4
        It definitely depends on how you use the files and how many files you have. My basic folder structure is:

        0. Inbox
        1. Pending
        2. Current Projects
        3. Reference

        I have the same folder structure on my work computer and my two home computers.

        Inbox takes anything that I don't know what to do with - interesting PDFs, email attachments that I haven't decided whether to action, etc. I've set up Firefox to direct all downloads into my Inbox rather than my desktop. In theory this folder gets cleaned once a week as part of my weekly review.

        Pending takes anything that is waiting on other people or is a someday/maybe project. Normally this is pretty empty.

        Current Projects take files that I use often and that are related to, well, current projects.

        Reference is easily the largest because my workload involves very long activity cycles (I edit an academic journal and am a researcher). At work, I have to keep material from the past several years, and files on all of our books that are currently in print. At home, I have loads of PDF articles (not tens of thousands, but thousands) and illustrations and bits of information 'just in case'.

        Both Current Projects and Reference are split into subfolders. I try not to use more than 3 levels of folders (so an example would be Reference - Book Title - Reviews) if at all possible.

        In order to completely trust my system, I use Copernic desktop search which is free and easy to use. That way, if I have put a file into the wrong folder I can still find it.

        The one thing that I'm trying to get better at is including dates in the file titles. I often work on the same file at home and work and rather than trying to make sure all computers and my flash drive have the same version of the file, I'm now getting into the habit of dating sucessive versions so that I don't accidentally delete the current version. I can always delete the older versions once the file is complete!


        • #5
          digital folders

          On the pc I have several files and folders. When I discovered GTD I introduced the alphabetical list of folder and I think it's more reliable than the other old system with folders and sub folders. So actually I have the two system but th alphabetical one is quicker than the old one.
          I use google desktop, freeware, to search the hidden files