First observations

After getting through the first 11 folders, I’ve eventually settled on collecting the following information for this exercise: Ref #, Location, Container Type, Container Name, Document Descriptions, # of Docs, # of Docs scanned, # of Hardcopy kept, # of hardcopy thrown away (calculation = #Docs – #HardcopyKept), New Electronic Folder created for Scan Y or N, Location of Scan in Laptop, Rationale for Action and Notes.

I’ve also noticed a couple of characteristics that have already emerged from this small subset of material. First, for several of the files, only a proportion of the documents originally filed were deemed to be worthwhile keeping for the long term. For example, car insurance policy documents usually include the full small print pages and handbook; however only the pages showing the details of the policy and its cost were considered worth scanning and retaining (in electronic form only).

The second characteristic concerns the naming of the files of scanned  documents. I’ve taken to including key information in the file names such that a list of the files in a folder in Windows Explorer becomes a very visible database. For example, in the case of scans of the documents related to cars I have owned, I’ve recorded the period of years I owned the car, its registration number, and the make and model, in the file name, so, when looking at the list of file names, one can see a full record of car ownership over the years.

Of course, both these points have emerged from observing an environment in which hard copy files built up over the years are being digitised; they may no longer apply when documents originate in electronic form (such as those arriving by email) or are digitised immediately they arrive. I will reflect on all this as I work through this exercise.

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