You are on page 1of 18


What is Filing? Filing is a process of inserting the item to proper folder to make a file and arranging them into filing storage equipment. The first step in creating a filing system is to develop a file plan. This plan consists of: •Selecting the file arrangement (e.g. alphabetical, numerical, alphanumeric, etc.) •How files will be accessed •Developing an index

Alphabetical Filing These may be topical or classified arrangements. Topical filing arranges files in straight alphabetical order. Classified filing places related documents under a major sub-heading. An alphabetical arrangement also is appropriate for filing records that are arranged by geographical locations, such as cities, towns or counties. Advantages of Alphabetical Filing • An index to records may not be needed • Can be effective, if everyone adheres to filing rules • Permits browsing through files

Disadvantages of Alphabetical Filing • More misfiling occurrences than in numerical systems. Misfiles occur frequently with alphabetical filing due to different interpretations of order • Name changes can cause problems with retrieval • It becomes inefficient and cumbersome in large systems • Unauthorized persons can easily find records

Numerical Filing
A numerical arrangement places records in order from the lowest number to the highest. This method also often tells the searcher which files are the oldest (the lowest numbered files) and which are the newest (the higher numbered files). Numerical filing includes straight numeric, duplex numeric, decimal and chronological filing systems.

Advantages of Numerical Filing • Users understand straight numerical sequences
(1,2,3,4,5,6, etc.) quicker than some alphabetical schemes. • Filing expansion is easier, because new numbers may be assigned without disturbing the arrangement of existing folders. • Misfiles can be quickly identified because the number out of sequence is easily detected if color-coding is used.

Disadvantages of Numerical Filing • Then the researcher must first look at an index which crossreferences the number with the name. • The file system is always growing in one direction at the end. When new files are created and old ones are retired, file personnel must continually shift the files backwards to make room for new files at the highest number end of the system.

Alpha-Numeric Filing

An alpha-numeric arrangement uses a combination of numeric digits and alphabet characters to create a flexible filing system. Subjects may be substituted with alphabetical or numerical codes. An index is needed to use the system effectively. For example, ADM-001 could be a code for Administrative files, Director's Correspondence. All records that relate to this subject would be filed under that particular code.

Advantages of Alpha-Numeric Filing • Codes eliminate the need for long titles. • File security is increased because a user must know, as in a purely numerical system, the meaning of codes before accessing files.

Disadvantages of Alpha-Numeric Filing • Users must first consult an index before accessing files • Users must be trained, and, even then, one user may interpret where to file a document differently than another, leading to confusion and a breakdown of the filing order. • Misfiles are common and are difficult to detect.

ACCESS Direct Access A direct access plan allows the user to access the file without first referring to an index. Direct access may be ideal for small offices that produce a low volume of records. (Example: If it is easier to find information by a person's name, the system would be alphabetical. One looks for the file directly by the name.)

Advantages of a Direct Access System • Eliminates the need for an index. • Allows users to browse through files. • Time associated with filing and records retrieval is reduced. • Users require little or no training to access the system

Disadvantages of a Direct Access System • Filing for large systems becomes cumbersome • Selecting terminology names may be difficult with subject files • File captions may be longer than codes; filing is tedious.

Indirect Access
An indirect access system requires the use of an codes to locate a file, such as assigning a number An indirect access system generally is used for complex filing systems. It may require the automated equipment to locate the files, as knowledge of the coding system. index or to a file. large or use of well as

Advantages of an Indirect Access System • Codes are easier to note and refer to on a document or folder than word captions. • Sorting is easier • Greater accuracy in filing and retrieving is achieved with the use of codes. • Security of the files is enhanced because users unfamiliar with the system will have difficulty accessing documents.

Disadvantages of an Indirect Access System
• User access is dependent on the accuracy of the index. •Coding and indexing are time consuming. • Browsing is not feasible.

Deciding where to file a record is called indexing. In some offices, the person releasing the material marks the index reference or code. Some of the more common suggestions for selecting indexing references are: The name of the firm or individual; subject or name within the body of the letter; special file section title where maintained, for example, Job Application; of letters, the name of the writer. Reference to the relative index for the files may give some clues as to selecting a category for an item that is difficult to index.

An index is a dictionary-type listing that shows all possible words and word combinations by which material may be requested. The items are arranged in a searchable order, such as alphabetical, numerical, chronological, hierarchical or arbitrarily systematic. Without a relative index, it is difficult for employees to operate a subject file. An example of relative index is found on the first pages of the yellow pages of the telephone directory. The index is also a cross-reference system because it contains all titles under which material may be filed. If the index is kept on cards, additional information such as status of the file when it began, may be accumulated about the file itself.

An index is known by many other names, depending on the body of knowledge that it covers. It may be called a dictionary, thesaurus, Catalog, authority list, access guide or a relative index. The subject headings contained in the index may also be known as key words, topics, items, concepts or descriptors. This is not to imply that the words can be used interchangeably, but rather that the concept is basic to a searching system. Functions of an Index Indexes vary in organization, format, vocabulary, breadth of selection, and depth of analysis, depending on the type of the collection and the use made of both the index and the collection. Therefore, the type of index used depends on the kind of material contained in the collection, the range of questions posed by the users, and the mechanical devices available to search the collection.

Because the users and their needs are among the chief considerations in developing an index, the users’ vocabulary should be considered in selecting headings for the index. These headings should be used consistently so that users can develop a frame reference. The form of multiple word headings depends upon the kind of material indexed and the search habits of the prospective users. Typical factors to be considered are whether the full legal names of companies or organizations should be used, whether the users of the file familiar with them, and whether some cross-referencing would be helpful.

Synthetical index brings together like items or concepts, as in coordinate indexing system. Analytical index isolates single items or concepts, as in index of specific topics to information included under broader headings, such as encyclopedia index. Hierarchical index is based on an orderly relationship of items or concepts such as in classified index.

Quality of an Index
The quality of an index depends on a compromise between user requirements and production capabilities, such as cost, time limits of preparations and publication, overall size, and the skill of the indexers and other personnel. The index should encompass the entire collection, and exceptions should be noted. (Exceptions would include limited use of generic names, limited crossreferencing of synonyms, names changes restricted to the last few years). An index should supply information not actually found in the collection when that information facilitates the use of the index, for example, full names, name recently adapted or changed, generic names and so forth.

Catchword Indexing
Key Word In Context Derived indexing wherein words and phrases are directly extracted from the contents of the document to represent its subject content. Title-based indexes are the most common type of derived indexing as illustrated by the Key Word in Context (KWIC) indexes. Key Word Out of Context KWOC (Key Word Out of Context) indexes were designed to more closely imitate the traditional index format in which the lead terms appear at the left of headings, rather than down the middle of the column or page.