Dunkirk Systems bought me 2 presents for Christmas last year – a Fujitsu ScanSnap S510 scanner and a One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) computer. I have been using both for the past few weeks and both are worthwhile, and dare I say revolutionary gifts, even with their simplicity.
The ScanSnap is unique in its packaging of existing technologies. As the name implies, it is a scanner. I saw headlines for it in several trade magazines, and after reading information on several Web sites and its own – including watching videos of it in action – I knew this was for me. It is a full-color, duplex scanner with a paper auto-feeder. The accompanying software includes a full version of Adobe Acrobat 8 Standard, optical character recognition to create searchable PDFs and a business card scanning application that creates both PDFs of each side of a card and converts it to text.
I have written before about how I need to eliminate paper in my life and business - and the solution I developed has been working well for me. But then there’s the burgeoning files of paper in my office that needs to be dealt with. My goal is to scan documents and items going forward that I don’t need to keep the original of, and then to slowly go back and scan similar items I already have. And backups – all must be backed up!
As I have gone through and scanned some older documents, I have found things I didn’t know or forgot I had. As I scan these items I am creating a hierarchy of file folders on my computer to organize them, eventually allowing me to scan the text within the documents as well. So in addition to solving the problem of stacks of paper, I am expanding my knowledgebase of information!
So far so good with the ScanSnap – I’ll report back on how things are going forward.
Good work Mike. It is indeed a challenge to apply some sort of order to the folders and files once you get them converted into e-media. Does a copy of your lease go into the finance folders or one on homes, etc. One of the best rules of thumb that I’ve heard is that when one files a document, it isn’t to ask “where shall I put this?” but rather ““how can I retrieve this?” I still have to groan when I come across a file titled with something that I have no idea what is within. When I labeled it at the time it made sense, but now I’m asking myself “what was I thinking?”
Comment by Don Pedro
on 01/12/08 at 09:27 AM
You bring up a good point Don Pedro, but one good thing about the ability of scanning the text inside of a document is you can search on “lease” if you didn’t know exactly where you put it.
Comment by Mike Maddaloni
on 01/12/08 at 12:06 PM
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