Alex (yakshaver) wrote,


I recently realized the solution to the problem of a filing system at work: Our information isn't especially systematic. I decided that the right answer to this is how I understand the earliest libraries worked: put stuff on the shelves as it comes in, and index the hell out of it. So rather than a classification system, my (probably wrong, but usefully wrong) understanding is that you would go to the library at Alexandria and look up "Eratosthenes" in the catalog, and be directed to a dozen or so totally arbitrary shelf locations.

Not to put down Dewey or the Library of Congress or anyone else who's subsequently come up with a classification system, this was a brilliantly simple idea. And it would work far better than any classification scheme for the sort of stuff we need to file at work. Though I may have some trouble selling this.

But today's epiphany is that this idea is exactly what I need to organize my stuff. Number a bunch of pendaflexes and start dropping stuff in them, adding an entry to a four-field text database as I go. (The only necessary fields are file number, date added, and a freeform text description. I also included a date field for when I throw things out eventually.)

I just went through a box of cruft that's been cluttering my office floor for months. The stuff in it worth keeping, which was most of it, is now in pendaflexes in my filing cabinet --- and I didn't have to invent a filing system or try to come up with descriptions that would fit on a folder label. Just decide it's worth keeping, toss it into a pendaflex, label the pendaflex with the next number, and type a brief description into the database.

Really, I'm not the sort of person who generally gets excited about filing. But. But, well, right now I'm excited about filing.

Tags: geek, meditations
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