PAWDOC: Portability

Since the early 1980s, office work has become increasingly decoupled from a single static location. Most people no longer have their own offices – in fact, many people no longer have their own desks. Hot desking and working from home are commonplace.  Business travel by car, train and plane is widespread; and working away from the base location in hotels or remote offices is a regular experience for some people. This mobility, and the fact that most office work is now undertaken electronically, continues to drive the development of powerful portable computers. The modern laptop is very light and powerful, and can have a huge storage capacity. The PAWDOC collection is stored on a machine weighing 1.3 kg and takes up just under one twentieth of the total 1Tb capacity of its SSD solid state drive.

Specific questions relating to this aspect are answered below. Note that the status of each answer will fall into one of the following 5 categories: Not Started, Ideas Formed, Experience Gained, Partially Answered, Fully Answered.

Q48. Are electronic filing systems portable?

2001 Answer: Experience gained: Yes, except for the scanner. The software systems run very well on a laptop computer. Most, if not all the electronic files and scanned images can be held on a laptop’s hard disk (which in 2001 would normally have between 5 GB and 10 GB available). If additional storage is required, CDs will meet the requirement.

2019 Answer: Fully answered: Yes – modern laptops have more than enough storage capacity to store all the digitised contents of a personal filing collection; and they have the power and display technology to enable fast searching and easy reading of the selected documents. Such laptops are light-weight and eminently portable. Even portable scanners have been available for some time. However, scanning technology is now commonplace and is likely to be available in most offices (often through the office photocopier), so carrying around a portable scanner may not be worth bothering with.

Q49. Under what circumstances does a filing system need to get used away from the base office?

2001 Answer: Experience gained:

  • While travelling in trains, planes, hotels and hot desks.
  • While working for periods of days, weeks or months away from the base office. (Wilson 1992b: 2.9).
  • While at home.

2019 Answer: Fully answered: In addition to the circumstances listed in the 2001 answer (while travelling, while working away from the base office, while at home) I would add the following:

  • While attending meetings.
  • Any place and situation in which the owner is working.

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