Posts Tagged ‘Color-coding’



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?

 What are Year Codes? b_yearlabels

Color-coded year bands provide an economical way to distinguish time of activity of individual folders located in a filing system.  A year band can be used to tell when a record was created or when the record was last accessed.

Each year is printed on the label and assigned a different color. For example, 2010 may be red while 2011 is blue.  The label wraps around the side or top tab of the folder so it is visible from both sides of the folder.      

What Sizes Are Available for Year Codes?

Side tab label sizes are:  3/4” high x 1-1/2” wide (most common size),
1/2” high x 1-1/8” wide, 1-7/8” x 1-7/8”.

Top tab label size is:  1” high x 1/2” wide.

What Type of Filing System Commonly Uses Year Codes?

Year codes are more commonly used in a side tab filing system (this is when folders are filed on open shelving as apposed to drawers) because these systems are often very large.  Also, with open shelving you can see the colors on the labels by standing in front of the shelving.

Why Use Year Codes?  yr codes

Finding information based on the year is much quicker. If you do not put it on the front of the folder you have to go into each chart to find the year.

Another use of colored year bands is when all records from one year are filed together.  If someone tries to put a record with the wrong year’s folders the color band will be different than the others in the section

When is Knowing Folder Activity Important?

Knowing folder activity is valuable in a number of instances:

If you purge based on activity. 

When a study is conducted and you want to access all records from a certain year. 

If you are looking for a certain record and know the year the search is quicker.

You need to follow-up on a record in a specific time period.

What if You Have too Many Records in One Year?

When one year is too long a time period (too many records) you can use two or more colors for the same year to break up the year.  Or, month codes are available to distinguish each month of activity.

Benefits of Year Codes!

Using year codes saves time and after all “time is money”.  Since approximately 75% of every dollar spent in filing areas is people time, using color-coded year bands will pay big dividends!

Share your ideas about using year codes.

Need year codes or folders?  Efficiency Solutions is a great place to purchase both!

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.
-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.

-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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