Document Management

Some friends of mine have been passing around links to a page about a paper filing system that’s pretty remarkable in its simplicity.

What I find interesting about the description of the filing system is this commentary on traditional document classification:


This system relies on Noguchi’s idea that it is more likely that the user will know or remember about when a document was created, than he/she will be able to remember where it has been stored in a conventional system.

Noguchi comments that a conventional classify-and-file system has the following problems.

  • The user must make a decision at the beginning as to the classification of a document, something that is sometimes not possible.
  • Some documents might fall into two or more categories, and the user could forget where the document was filed.
  • Since unused documents are filed in the same “pockets” with documents that are frequently or have been recently used, the task of discarding unused documents requires the user to go through all files.

Some of these items don’t appear to be a problem for electronic storage mechanisms, but it is interesting that most document management systems (including modern blogs) seem to encourage the idea of classifying documents in some way.

EDIT: Sadly, the original paper is no longer available.

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