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3945Re: Searchable Filing System

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  • Charlie Hansen
    Apr 2, 2005
      Sam Aylesworth asked Alan Cassley for suggestions re:

      > Context:
      > I currently hold about 300 handwritten letters written between family
      > members over a 75 year period. I also have many other related historic
      > documents reaching back 200 years that I would like to digitize.
      > What I am looking for:
      > A) Someone to help me identify an off-the-shelf computer program that I
      > could readily use in the following ways? B) ALTERNATIVELY, someone I could
      > hire who would customize an existing OFF-THE-SHELF PROGRAM so that I could
      > then use it in the following ways:

      I would suggest that you consider organizing your project in a large file
      organized as:
      Volumes ( Letters Volume, Document Volume, or by dates)
      Chapters ( writers, recipients, dates or similar criteria)
      Sections ( Grouping of similar related items)
      Letter or Document with notes, keywords and citations.

      > What I expect to do and to accomplish:
      > 1) I wish to type each and every letter, and to associate some key
      > 'fields' with each letter, such as: - date of the letter - place where
      > letter was written from - written by NAME - written to NAME - key topic or
      > theme of the letter - perhaps two, three, four or five key words that
      > would help users to cluster certain files/letters - room, of course, for
      > the full body of the text - perhaps also room for a scanned (unsearchable)
      > image of the letter itself

      This could be done using one of several widely available word processors. I
      would suggest MS Word as you say that you are already use it, and for
      searching reasons as I will mention later

      > - I would prefer to place each typed letter and its related tags into a
      > separate file, rather than entering them all into a single file (though
      > I'm open to understanding why this may not be essential or the best way to
      > go). However, I would like my computer to recognize that the entire
      > collection IS single/related collection for use as detailed below.

      For creating a Table of Contents and indexes you should have all your letters or
      all your documents in a single file. Also you could create cross references or
      links from one letter item (name, place) to another, etc. If the file becomes too
      large you could separate your volumes into separate files.

      > 2) Similarly, I would like to scan-in the many related historic documents,
      > one per file, and be able to attach information to each file such as: -
      > date - origin of the document - description of the document - key
      > interesting facts about the document - the scanned image itself
      > - again, I would prefer to place each document in a separate file, as part
      > of a collection of searchable files.

      Do you have some overriding reason for wanting separate files instead of using
      a Chapter, Section, Document organization?

      > 3) I would then like to be able to do searches on the entire collection of
      > letter-files and related document-files, AND be able to printout or
      > otherwise display the letters and documents that match my search criteria.
      > For example:
      > - list all letters that make reference to the individual John Doe or the
      > city of Philadelphia or the word "chocolate." - then let me view and then
      > print the documents I want - let me imbed a particular
      > file/letter/document OR a particular segment of that file/letter/document
      > into some other overview document that I prepare which summarizes the
      > highlights of the collection AND which allows me to 'footnote' the source
      > file or document which is imbedded in the overview document.

      MS Word's Table of Contents and Indexes would do much of what you want.
      There are also several Desktop Search Engines that have recently become
      available. MSN, Google and Yahoo offer search engines that only work if you
      are using Windows XP. Copernic provides a Desktop Search Engine that is
      very flexible and works in a reduced mode with Windows 98 and ME.
      See http://www.copernic.com/
      These programs build an index and allow you to do fast "Google" type searches
      with Boolean logic on selected drives, folders or files. At present they seem to
      require documents to be in MS Word format, except Copernic, and do not
      appear to work with other word processor's documents. This is why I suggested
      MS Word over WordPerfect or OpenOffice, which otherwise have similar or
      better features.

      You would then have to select, copy and paste from your letters and documents
      into a new MS Word document with your added notes.

      Hope these suggestions are helpful.

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