TechWhirl (TECHWR-L) is a resource for technical writing and technical communications professionals of all experience levels and in all industries to share their experiences and acquire information.
For two decades, technical communicators have turned to TechWhirl to ask and answer questions about the always-changing world of technical communications, such as tools, skills, career paths, methodologies, and emerging industries. The TechWhirl Archives and magazine, created for, by and about technical writers, offer a wealth of knowledge to everyone with an interest in any aspect of technical communications.
Tiffany Haley (thaley -at- sctcorp -dot- com) writes:
> Being the only documentation person here I am finding myself the recipient
> of loads of valuable documentation that should be organized and saved.
. . .
> Does anyone know of some software or shareware that helps to organize/index
> files/documents on the PC platform?
To answer the question, I don't. But as the documentation controller and
tech writer here, I can offer some advice that I hope applies in your
ORGANIZING ELECTRONIC DOCUMENTS
Everything I receive is, by decree, on diskette. Instant backup! -- though I
also back the diskettes up to mass storage.
The files on the diskette are named by engineering using a standard
system. I don't worry about it -- if they want to find a file again they
had better name it accordingly -- but it is roughly this: the main
directory refers to the project; the subdirectory refers to the
application used to make the file; and the file name describes
mnemonically the file contents and revision.
When I receive the diskette, which the engineers have labelled with an
informal description of the contents, I give it a unique name (on a small
label) and file it by that name. The name consists of the project name and
a number. I also print out the directory tree, marking at the top of the
printout the diskette name, the informal description, and the medium (3.5
or 5.25). The printouts I keep in a binder, sorted by project.
When someone wants a file, they can flip through the project diskettes if
they want, looking for their informal label, or they can consult the
binder to find the file name they are looking for.
I do have a program that converts the directory tree to a database,
allowing for key searches. It's a dBASE program I wrote myself.
ORGANIZING DOCUMENTS HELD ON A PC
I use Ventura, which complicates my life a little because it is very picky
about file locations. For a pub in progress I keep a single directory,
with subdirectories for text files, vector files, and bitmap files, more
or less in accordance with the VP backup feature. I make sure everything I
use is in the proper directory. At the end of a project I back it up and
clean it off.
Frequently used files I keep in a separate directory, for example a
DRAWINGS directory, with subdirectories for each project, for clipart, and
for various ad hoc things. I copy these files into the publication
directory as needed. I back up the DRAWINGS directory independently.
I also look after hard copy, but I don't see this in your question. I'll
detail that if you're interested.
James Owens ad354 -at- Freenet -dot- carleton -dot- ca
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
Post Message: TECHWR-L -at- LISTSERV -dot- OKSTATE -dot- EDU
Get Commands: LISTSERV -at- LISTSERV -dot- OKSTATE -dot- EDU with "help" in body.
Unsubscribe: LISTSERV -at- LISTSERV -dot- OKSTATE -dot- EDU with "signoff TECHWR-L"
Listowner: ejray -at- ionet -dot- net