In response to Ask Lifehack.Community “How do I organize a large and growing collection of Electronic documents?”, Matthew Cornell had a detail look into the issue on organizing electronic documents. Recently he adopted GTD’s filing system, which designed for paper organization, for his email organization. In his post, he wondered if this can apply to electronic files as well:

A simple alpha filing system for electronic documents?

The other idea this question stimulated is applying David Allen’s GTD filing system to the digital realm. I’m currently testing this for email, and it has worked pretty well so far. Briefly, in addition to @action and @waiting-for, I have a top-level email directory for each letter of the alphabet, each of which contains email archive files (mbox files on my unix machine) for each project (e.g., n/nsf-site-visit-2005, p/personal-information-web). Finally, each of those latter files contains the relevant messages. Here’s the conceptual map (vertical dimension is ‘containment’, with the outer-most container at the top)…

It may work quite well, if the file is related to one context. Several contexts may create a complication – a question of which context should you file to. A good advantage on tagging is that it allows user to add more than one keyword to an object. For instance when I bookmark a site on PHP and Javascript tutorial, my keyword can be javascript, php, and tutorial. If I have a file on the same topic, with the current file system design limitation, I may only allow to file into one context (folder) – I may put it in ‘tutorial’ folder, but what happen if I want to retrieve everything about javascript? What do you think on this issue?

Organizing Electronic Documents GTD-Syle? – [Matt's Idea Blog]

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