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The E-Sylum:  Volume 8, Number 12, March 21, 2005, Article 24

NUMISMATIC LIBRARY FILING SYSTEM.

Dick Johnson writes: "Joe Boling has piles on his two
library tables. I’ll bet these are unshelved books, pamphlets,
periodicals, auction catalogs, correspondence, clippings
and manuscripts. Does that also describe you as well,
kind E-Slylum reader (okay, I’ll say it, E-Syluminary --
does anyone else like my newly coined word!)? It sure
was my situation until I moved and had to build a library
room all to itself. I am trying something new. I hope it
works. Ask me in a couple months.

Years ago I bought the book "File ... Don’t Pile! A
Proven Filing System for Personal and Professional Use"
by Pat Dorff. Guess what I did with it? I put it on top of
one of my piles!

Yep. I was a piler. When the piles got too high, or, I had
to clean off the work tables for a visitor, say, I put the
piles in a storage box and marked it ‘TBS’ – To Be Sorted.
I must have moved a dozen TBSs.

Author Pat is a is a professional librarian. She had some
excellent suggestions. I read the first couple of chapters,
looked at every one of the cartoons and skimmed the
rest of the book before I put it back on one of my piles,
intending to do something, sometime in the future.

My real inspiration came from the new ANS Library in
New York City. Librarian Frank Campbell – wisely! –
took all the auction cats and pamphlets out of the vertical
files (that’s "library speak" for filing cabinets) and put them
on the shelves. I liked that! I was determined to do the
same with my own stuff. Put as much as possible on
shelves.

But how to organize it? Books – by subjects, then by size
(U.S coins together, world coins together, mints, medals,
tokens, technology, one or more shelf for each). Periodicals
in chronological order, of course. But what about everything
else?

We drink a lot of orange juice at our house. The half gallon
cartons come six to a box. I found these orange juice boxes
are the ideal size, 8 ˝ x 12 inches. Most everything fits these
open-top boxes -- file folders, 3-ring notebooks, loose
papers, books, pamphlets, photographs, reports, post cards,
even legal size pages (folded). I even have medals in some.
We get these boxes from one of the discount grocery stores
(ALDI). They let you take the boxes to pack your purchases.
I grab a couple every trip.

I put labels on the end of the boxes and these fit nicely on
book shelves. I pick subjects for these labels which ideally
would contain about six inches of closely related material
(leaving room for expansion). When I empty a TBS box I
deal the papers, clippings and photocopies into these
labeled boxes. Later I can organize the stuff within each
box with file folders.

I work on several projects at once. I have a box for each
project, and the most important project boxes are in a
bookcase next to my desk. Fifteen boxes fill a bookcase.
No filing cabinet in my office. I now have shelves and
orange boxes. The library with books and more boxes on
shelves are in the next room.

I know my boxes are not archive caliber. Some of the
stuff doesn’t deserve it. But I sure could transfer over
really important valuable material into acid-free archive
boxes in the future. As soon as read the last chapters
of "Don’t Pile!"

  Wayne Homren, Editor

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