Before creating a numeric filing system for your records, it is important to decide what filing number to use.
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?
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.
Considering all the factors listed above will aid you when designing a numeric filing system.
Do you have any additional ideas regarding numbering folders?
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