Archive for the ‘Filing Numeric, Alpha’ Category

 

COLOR-CODING WITH TERMINAL DIGIT FILING

terminal digit filing

-Color-coding is very effective with terminal digit filing.  Using the number 87 34 71 you would
color-code (7)(1)

-If you have a file room with 10,000 records and color-code the last two digits you will have 100 records in the file room filed beside each other with the same two colors.  It is easy to see if someone puts a record into the wrong section since the color scheme would be broken.

-You only need to search through 100 files for a missing folder instead of 10,000 (since you know the color of the last two digits).

-Still using the example 87 34 71 if you decide to color-code the 1,000 digit also (3) in our example, that would reduce the amount of records with the same three colors to 10 records.

I recommend color-coding the 1,000 digit when the file room contains 30,000 or more records (means 30 records with the same 3 colors as opposed to 300 when coding 2 colors).

I would not recommend color-coding all the digits of the number because of the rainbow effect makes spotting misfiles difficult (too many colors)  Also, why spend unnecessary money?

Read my article “Analysis of Terminal Digit” Filing for information about terminal digit filing.

Need folders or labels?  Go to Efficiency Solutions for a great selection of filing products.

>What suggestions can you add to color coding terminal digit filing?

alpha filingYou have decided to create an alphabetical filing system based on a name. Where do you start?

The order to file alphabetically by name is: last name, first name or initial, then middle name or initial.

1) To get started first determine how many records will be put into the system.  This will determine how much shelving you need.

(Read my article “Questions to Ask Before Choosing Shelving for Your Files”) for help determining what type of shelving to buy.

2) Then, divide your shelving into 26 sections. Studies have determined the percentage of how many people have a last name starting with each letter of the alphabet.  By using the results of these studies, you can estimate what percentage of the file room each letter will use.

File Room Alpha Breakdown

(A=3.2%) (B=9.7%) (C=8.0%) (D=4.9%) (E=2.2%) (F=3.8%)

(G=4.9%) (H=7.8%) (I=0.4%) (J=2.6%) (K=3.6%) (L=4.5%)

(M=9.3%) (N=1/7%) (O=1.3%) (P=4.5%) (Q=0.2%) (R=4.8%)

(S=10.2%) (T=3.4%) (U=0.4%) (V=1.0%) (W=6.8%) (X=0.1%)

(Y=0.5%) (Z=0.2%)

Each section will reflect the information provided above.  An easy way to designate each section is to write each letter on a piece of white tape or a blank white label.  You can stick this lettered label at the start of each section.

3) Put the files in the correct section based on the first letter of the person’s last name.

(Here is a handy tool that will automatically alphabetize lists.)

4) Next, go the second letter of the surname, then the third letter, etc..

Some additional rules are:

-Surnames with prefixes (Mac, Mc.,  etc.), are filed as if they were one word.

-How about if the two last names are the same?  Then go to the first letter of the first name.

-When someone has a title, put the title at the end of their name.

-Any abbreviations in a name should be alphabetized as 
  if they were spelled out (St. – saint)

-Ignore hyphens and file compound names as one unit.

For maximum efficiency-color code your alpha system.

Please share any alphabetic filing stories you might have!

Here is a great place to find supplies for your alpha filing system.

Before creating a numeric filing system for your records, it is important to decide what filing number to use. 

Terminal Digit Filing

Here are some questions along with some ideas to help you decide:

Taking the time to think through all the current and future aspects of your filing needs will help to save you time and trouble as the system grows. Nothing is worse than having thousands of records filed only to have to re-do the system because of factors not considered at the beginning.

1)  How many total records are anticipated for this system?

If the system is very small what number to use is not as important.  In fact, you might want to consider alphabetical filing since this may reduce the need to cross reference in order to find the record’s number. 

For large filing systems a shorter number is easier to handle. 

2)  What numbers already exist that may be used?

Maybe a billing number, medical record number etc?  If you decide to use an existing number accessibility of the number is very important.  Using a computer system that contains the filing number is the most commonly used method. 

3)  Will you be color-coding the records?

If you decide to color-code the records a shorter number is easier to work with.

4)  Where do you intend to designate the number on the folder?

Make sure the number is not so long all the numbers cannot be viewed on the folders.

5)  Will sub-folders be created that need to be numbered?

If sub-folders are used another decision has to be made about how to designate the sub-folders.  Using the date the sub-folder is created is a common designation method.

6)  Will regular purging of the files occur?

If a sequential filing number is used purging will create holes at the beginning of the filing system which means the records must be shifted to make space for the new numbers (newer numbers will be filed at the end of the system).

7)  Is confidentiality an issue with the number being considered for the record? 

confidential_file_folder_0515-0911-0222-3558_SMUIf the files are located where they can be casually viewed, this issue becomes very important.

 

 

8) Will drawers or open shelving be used for the system?

When records are filed in drawers it is harder to see the number.  A shorter number could help. 

When records are filed in drawers it is harder to see the number. A shorter number could help. Also remember that filing drawer cabinets are very inefficient use of floor space.

cartoon

Considering all the factors listed above will aid you when designing a numeric filing system.

Do  you have any additional ideas regarding numbering folders?

Need to purchase  folders or labels?  Check out Efficiency Solutions for all your filing system needs.

An organized filing system can be arranged in a number of ways including:  Alphabetical, Straight Numeric, or Terminal Digit order.

This article focuses on Terminal Digit filing.

Example of a Terminal Digit System

With Terminal digit filing the last two digits of the filing number determine the primary location of the file.  Then you go to the middle two digits, then the beginning digits  (how many digits depends on the size of the number).

A simple way to describe how to file a six digit number in terminal digit order is: last two, middle two, first two.

For example:  the number 13 76 20 would be filed in the (20) section,  then in order by the (76), then in order by the (13).

You are basically taking the entire file room and dividing it up into 100 sections.  The sections start at (00) and end at (99)

You look at the last two digits first (last two) which means the first section in the file room contain all the numbers that end in (00) and the last section contains all the numbers that end in (99).

Terminal Digit File Room Illustration

00 01 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09
10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19
20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29
30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39
40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49
50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59
60 61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69
70 71 72 73 74 75 76 77 78 79
80 81 82 83 84 85 86 87 88 89
90 91 92 93 94 95 96 97 98 99

These sections pretty much stay constant so knowing the last two digits of the filing number means knowing the section of the file room that contains that record (a number ending 50 will be in the middle of the file room etc.).

Now that the record is in the primary section the next digits to file by in that section are the (middle digits). Then you go to the next digits back (first two with a six digit number).

Read the rest of this entry »

In an organized filing system folders are arranged in some kind of order (we hope!). Some commonly used methods include: alphabetical, straight numeric, terminal digit numeric, or by some category. Sub categories can also be added to the above methods.

 Straight numeric filing is basically putting the folders in order of lowest number to highest number.

Knowing the advantages and disadvantages of the various systems upfront will allow for an informed decision based on your particular needs.

This article provides information regarding straight numeric filing.

1) Choosing a Number

Before putting the files into numeric order you have to decide what number will be used to designate each folder. Some numbers commonly used are: medical record number, account number, billing number, assigned number etc.

2) Determining if Straight Numeric is the Correct Choice

-How folders many will make up the filing system?

-The number of digits that make up the chosen number?  

-How long the records will be kept in the system?

-What factors will determine when they are purged?

-Will the records be color-coded?

Read the rest of this entry »

In an organized filing system folders are arranged in some kind of order. Some commonly used systems include: alphabetical, straight numeric, terminal digit numeric, or by a category.

Sub categories can also be added to the above methods. Knowing the advantages and disadvantages of the various systems upfront will allow for an informed decision based on your particular needs.

This article looks at alphabetical filing.
 
Before putting the files into alphabetical order you have to decide what will be the designator of the file. This will allow you to get an idea of the total quantity of files in the system.
 
Using a name is the most commonly used factor. Most systems put last name first, then the first name. For example: Beth Smith would be filed before Pam Smith.
 
ADVANTAGES:
 
-Most people are familiar with this type of filing because libraries (at least partially) and home filing systems are usually alphabetical.
 
-The staff should be able to learn and become comfortable with the system in a timely manner.
 
-The total amount of shelving available for the system can be divided into alphabetical order before you start to add records (the chart below shows how to estimate space for alpha sorted files).
 
  File Room Alpha Breakdown
 
(A=3.2%) (B=9.7%) (C=8.0%) (D=4.9%) (E=2.2%) (F=3.8%)
 
(G=4.9%) (H=7.8%) (I=0.4%) (J=2.6%) (K=3.6%) (L=4.5%)
 
(M=9.3%) (N=1/7%) (O=1.3%) (P=4.5%) (Q=0.2%) (R=4.8%)
 
(S=10.2%) (T=3.4%) (U=0.4%) (V=1.0%) (W=6.8%) (X=0.1%)
 
(Y=0.5%) (Z=0.2%)

- The need to shift the records after purging records is reduced because which records that are removed is usually random.

-The records that are then added to the system will also be random and fall across the entire filing system.

- A cross reference may be avoided if the situation is such that the name used on the record is easily available.

DISADVANTAGES:
 
-This system does not work well with very large filing systems. With a large amount of files the chance of duplicate names is great which can lead to confusion and increase retrieval time.
 
-Color coding is more difficult since you need to have 26 colors or combination of colors to designate all the letters of the alphabet.
 
-Spotting misfiles can also be harder.
 
-Trying to remember where a letter falls in the alphabet adds to the time of filing and retrieving the records.
 
-Dealing with some of the rules of alpha filing can be very confusing. (For example, does Mc come before or after Mac?) Every time I go to the library I stand at the stacks trying to remember these rules (and I have to keep going through the alphabet to find a particular book on the shelves).
 
-If confidentiality is an issue having a person’s name on the file may be a privacy violation.
 
-Chances are increased that an unauthorized person can find a particular file.
 
In conclusion, making the decision on what system to use depends on your needs and how you rank the advantages and disadvantages list above.
 
See my article "Analysis of Terminal Digit Filing"  and  "Analysis of Straight Numeric Filing"  for information about numeric filing.
 
Need folders for your filing system?  Efficiency Solutions carries a wide range of filing products!
 
Do you have any advantages or disadvantages to add to my list?
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