Normally we don’t do a blog post on a Friday, but since this is Friday the 13th it seems like a good time to remind everyone that document disasters can happen any day. The cause of these disasters is usually us and we can screw up today or any day. So be careful, be diligent and try to be organized.
What are the typical disasters that can happen? Accidental deletion of a document, a file dragged and dropped into the abyss, version nightmares ie. V1, V2, V998 and counting, files that are too large to email or upload or download, and on and on.
Accidental deletion is a bad one. The only advice here is to be extra extra careful if you know the file storage location doesn’t have backup or only has backup nightly. If you create and delete a file in the same day, it may not be backed up because that process typically only runs at night. Find out how your file server and backups are configured and act accordingly.
Searching for a lost document, whether your searching your email system, a file server or the cloud storage is a pain. Hopefully there is a full text search option available to you and hopefully the file you are looking for has searchable text, like a Word document or a PDF with searchable text. It does help to make sure you name files with some intelligible words and not some cryptic language. See if you can get scanned documents converted to text searchable PDF.
Version control is a difficult one to stay on top of if you don’t use a content management or document management system AND use the built-in version control. Yes, it may take a few more seconds to load a file and to file it away, but… One tip here is to always save versions only in one folder. Try not to save one version on your local drive and then save one on the file server and then another in the cloud. Now you are really making it difficult to figure out which one is the most current.
Lastly, problems with file sizes. Some email systems and cloud based applications still limit the size of uploads. As far as we can tell, much of this problem is related to scanning documents on digital copiers. Check your copier to see if the default settings are to scan in color at 600 DPI. That will take a 10 page document and turn it into a 30 meg file and incompatible with many systems. Change the settings if you can to 200 DPI, black and white and only use color when you really need to.
We hope these little tips help you and keep the curse of the 13th away today and every day.