Filing is the process of classifying, arranging, sorting, and storing records so they may be easily located and retrieved when needed. The classification and control of records involves consideration of the basic file groups, material collection procedures, file preparation, sorting, indexing, maintenance, and cross referencing.
A uniform filing system is important for the following reasons:
Rules of filing apply to the correct applications and use of guides, folders, labels, index cards and equipment. These elements are vital to an effective and efficient filing system and assist in the location and retrieval of records.
The definition of "guide" is to direct. A guide directs the eye to a specific location within a filing system. Guides serve the following functions:
File folders are used for two reasons:
Labels are applied to the tab of the file folder for three reasons:
Agencies which use copy machines to reproduce documents for distribution among their staff later find those copies in several places within the agency's filing system. This duplication adds unnecessary volume to files and often it becomes difficult to determine the location for filing the original document.
The "ORIGINATOR DOCUMENT STAMP" method will be helpful to those agencies who distribute copies of documents among their staff. This method will aid the control of copies of documents, streamline and simplify filing and locating procedures, pinpoint responsibility for the original documents, and resolve questions on retention of the copies. An ORIGINATOR DOCUMENT STAMP will be in this format:
(DIVISION NAME IDENTIFIER)
The procedure for the ORIGINATOR DOCUMENT STAMP is as follows:
Charge-out control prevents the loss of information and assures documents are returned to the file most of the time without delay and extra labor. It identifies the borrower and the location of information removed from the files.
No record or folder shall be removed from the filing system until a charge-out record has replaced the material removed. The charge-out record must include these items:
Third-cut file guides and folders are used for the classification system in vertical file cabinets.
The PRIMARY INDEXING UNIT will be the subject name and numbers outlined in the Classification System for Records. These are placed on the left-position guides only.
Subjects which do not apply to a specific office will be omitted. Guides or folders should not be prepared for omitted subjects.
The SECONDARY INDEXING UNIT will be the record series names which are determined through the records equipment inventory. These will be placed on the middle-position guides.
The TERTIARY INDEXING UNIT will be sub-file units within a record series. These are the right-position folders. All file folders should be identified and labeled by year. Groups of folders for the current year are placed in front of those for prior years.
The use of folders and guides with the classification system is illustrated below. A different color label will be used for each new primary indexing unit. This color would be the same on all guides and folders until the next primary indexing unit begins.
Open-shelf filing systems require the following file supplies:
Guides may not necessary in color-coded, open-shelf filing systems because the change of colors indicates the change of subject.
The PRIMARY INDEXING UNIT uses the color-coded numeric label.
The SECONDARY INDEXING UNIT will be typed as the first line of the label. It will be the record series name that was determined through the records inventory.
The TERTIARY INDEXING UNIT will be typed as the second line of the label. It will be the sub-file units within a record series.
Following is an example of a typed label:
This label is read as follows:
An example of the open-shelf filing system with the classification system is illustrated below. ITD Records Management will assist state agencies in determining the subject classifications in which the agency's records would be located. This will result in an individualized filing system coordinated to the statewide records management program.
ITD Records Management recommends a 31-subject classification system designed to meet the special and individual needs found within each office.
The 31 subjects of the State of ND Subject Classification System are defined below. A complete State of ND Subject Classification System with definitions and breakdowns of filing categories is also available. This classification system can be used for managing any type of record, paper or electronic.
The Records Management Program is responsible for the preservation of state records. This includes determining retention periods, selecting the appropriate retention medium, choosing the best retention location, and selecting the best filing system for the records.