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.
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
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).
-Very efficient for use in large file rooms
-Records can be filed and retrieved very quickly
-Each section is always in the same area of the file room
-File room personnel learn where each section is located
-Sections fill up evenly because the number sequence is irrelevant
-Works well with randomly purged records
-Shifting of records after a purge is greatly reduced
-Sectioned number easier to deal with
-Color-coding is very efficient
-Makes accessing records difficult for unauthorized personnel
I recommend considering this method of filing if the file room contains 10,000 or more records.
-File room personnel’s fear of learning a new system
-Looking at the filing number basically backwards can be confusing
-Not as efficient for small file rooms
-Not efficient if you have a small number of assigned numbers along with very large files
-More difficult to organize if sub-folders are used
In conclusion, weighing the pros and cons of the various filing methods before starting your filing system will save you lots of future headaches!
Learn how to color-code terminal digit filing!
Click here for staight numeric filing.
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>What suggestions can you add to terminal digit filing?