Home Forums Technology Thinking Forward to 2011 … How to Organize My Digital Records

This topic contains 4 replies, has 5 voices, and was last updated by  nws2002 7 years, 8 months ago.

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  • #159625


    Hello all,

    As I sit thinking forward to 2011, I realize that my digital records are a nightmare when it comes to organization. Ok, what really happened was I tried find something last night on the computer from 2007 and could not.

    I have been trying to come up with a way to consolidate all of the information, or at least links to the information in one place so I can find it, my wife can find it, and, if needed, anyone else could find it. We scan almost everything that comes into our house, and for the most part I try to keep notes, records, etc. electronic. The information has to be readily available to any computer on our network, it has to be easy to find related records that might be in other places (using tags, etc), and it has to be, for the most part, paperless. I have come up with two ideas:

    (1) Set up a web server using an older computer I have at home and serve the information from there.

    (2) Use a program like Microsoft OneNote to keep notes and hyperlinks so they can be accessed easily.

    Using either of these ideas, I am a little at a loss as to how to structure the system. I know what I have done in the past has not worked well.

    I figured I would ask here to see if anyone else has any ideas. I am open to ideas of how to set up either of the above two methods, or even different methods. I would appreciate any help here. I would even enjoy readin long descriptions of your own personal record keeping system.

    Thanks in advance,

  • #198854


    Thinking Forward to 2011 … How to Organize My Digital Records

    My records are organized by year, then by subject (eg utilities, pay, bank [statements], credit cards, etc). My tax returns are scanned separately and are also by year (that way I can delete supporting info files 7 years back but still have everything else I need). I also have separate files for specific things like my pet files, household (receipts for big ticket items), and as I do things for my mother she gets a file too. I try not to have too many files, but they need to be intuitive for me, so that I can find things a year or so later. The less files I have, the less searching I have to do later on! And all my scanned docs have a date on them, usually the closing date for charges (credit cards) or the date the bill was sent (if no closing date).

    Oh, and at the top of all my documents I have an ICE folder (In Case of Emergency, if you don’t know the acronym), so that if anything happens to me, my executor can find the pertinent documents (scan of durable power of attorney, access codes to my accounts, safe deposit box info, etc). Hope this helps.

  • #198867


    Thinking Forward to 2011 … How to Organize My Digital Records

    to be honest, i don’t keep a great deal of files digitally.
    my bookkeeper is elderly and she wants paper…..so company stuff is all on paper.
    it is organised by month and year, and i keep 7 years worth in banker’s boxes, as per tax dept requirements.
    it’s not that much and every year i get to toss a box.

    i don’t own a scanner, so other papers are physically filed too.
    i overhauled my filing system within the last 18 months and can now put my hand on anything.
    it is a simple system because i run a simple household.

    for digital stuff, i am a big fan of evernote.
    i don’t scan, but i can take photos of documents and save them straight to evernote.
    and from there they are 100% searchable….not just the tags.
    evernote works with practically every device, so your notes are accessible everywhere.
    you can alter a file from your phone and it updates automatically everywhere.
    you can save webpages….voice memos…images….scanned stuff….hyperlinks……
    i take photos of business cards….handwritten recipes……the sign with holiday opening hours at the local supermarket….receipts that i need to keep handy….etc.

  • #198887


    Thinking Forward to 2011 … How to Organize My Digital Records

    Great ideas, Bandicoot! I was reluctant to use Evernote, thinking I’d have to transcribe things or scan them, but taking pictures is perfect for me, even though I rarely carry any other portable devices. I always carry my camera. I use it for lots of things, including taking pictures of the science project backboards so I can grade them from the comfort of home instead of the cold, dim classroom at 9PM. I love the idea of photographing store hour signs!

  • #198898


    Thinking Forward to 2011 … How to Organize My Digital Records

    I use Evernote and have notebook stacks to match the odd/even years, taxes, add/remove, and permanent files of the FreedomFiler (http://www.freedomfiler.com/) system. It seems to work out, and I feel safer because my files are in multiple places and the cloud. Like Bandicoot mentioned, Evernote uses OCR to make the scanned documents searchable, and I’ve never had any issues finding things. You can add tags, but I don’t bother with them most of the time.

    I also take pictures of business cards using the Evernote iPhone app, save it to a notebook called Business Cards, and then immediately toss the card. Keeps them all in one place, and searchable if I need to find one. I will sometimes add a note about how and where I met the person.

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