Monday, February 16, 2015

Paperless, updated...

Paperless, updated...  About six weeks ago, I posted about our adventure in switching to paperless records storage.  We've just gone over 100 documents filed this way, with about 250 pages total.  As I gain familiarity with the system, it just gets easier and easier to use.  I've started using folders in DevonThink to organize the information, but only in a very high-level way (for instance, all of our financial records are in a single folder).  I've started to routine scan manuals and instruction sheets (it's so easy!), not because they take up so much room, but because by being scanned they're so easy to search.  Very, very convenient.

So just in case you were wondering whether we still thought going paperless (as Helen W. asked by email yesterday) was a win ... the answer is “Hell, yes!”


  1. Speaking of electronic data organization, what do you do for photographs? I know you take lots - how do you keep track.

    My wife is an avid amateur naturalist and takes thousands of plant photos. We desperately need some sort of photo database that allows multiple ways to find a particular photo.

  2. Hi, Richard... Sorry about the delay in replying - I had a glitch on my blog that caused notifications NOT to go out.

    I've tried many different schemes over the years, and they all suffered from one major problem: they took too much work for me to use. If I got out on a hike and take 200 photos, it's just unrealistic to think I'm going to write even one word on each of them. So for the past 5 years or so I've used a ridiculously simple scheme. For each event or subject, I create a directory within my master photo directory named YYYY-MM-DD subject/event (where YYYY is a four digit year, MM is a two digit month, and DD is a two digit day. If I took some photos while hiking at Crimson Creek today, I'd make a directory 2015-02-22-Crimson Creek hike. By forcing two digits, the directories sort nicely chronologically. I've also adopted the convention of creating a "processed" subdirectory within the subject/event directory, where I save any photos that I've edited. That way the subject/event directory always has the raw files from the camera.

    I find it pretty easy to go back and find photos with this scheme. I can browse by date, if I know about when I took the photos, or I can search for key words (like Crimson Creek). Best of all, I don't have to tag or annotate the photos at all...