As part of my paperless office experiment I’m finding that scanning is actually the easiest part of the whole setup. A lot of what is difficult is finding a workflow that makes sense. For example, if your assistant scans in 250 documents from your file cabinet, you need some way to classify and organize those into your system. Obviously you can look at each one and figure out where it goes, but this is very slow.
DevonTHINK has a feature that helps with this. It looks at the text in the document you want to classify and then looks at the text of documents already in the system. Then it suggests a location that puts it with similar documents. This is extremely useful–especially when dealing with bills.
In this video I do a brief demo of how this classification system works. I’m trying to make the videos a bit more usable, so let me know if this is an improvement over the others or not.
The video is a bit on the rough side, but I wanted to go ahead and get it put up to get some feedback from readers. I’m planning on doing some more with a better camera and in a better controlled environment. (I’m not sure if you can see me trying to shoo the dog away that is trying to rest his wet nose on my leg.)
Benjamin Michael Goering says
Great video/post. No notice of the dog, and I don’t think there’s much you need to improve in terms of video quality.
Informative though. As I try to move to a “paperless student” system this fall, I’ll keep this in mind.
Thanks for this excellent screencast. The only thing that bugs me a little bit is that you’re hosting it on YouTube.
YouTube might be a good choice if you’re uploading a video of yourself but it’s definitely the wrong choice for screencasts due to its low resolution.
I would highly recommend Vimeo (www.vimeo.com) or at least Viddler (www.viddler.com). Have a look at this example and watch it in fullscreen mode:
Greetings and keep up the good work.
Arjun Muralidharan says
The classify feature of DevonThink really is great. But I’ve tried many systems and most are very unfriendly towards certain file types like docx, which I *do* have to deal with occasionally.
As for folder structure, you very well know I’m on ABC :-P
Avoid stuff with a fine pattern on it to wear or in the background – it causes moiré effects that can be a major visual distraction.
IIRC Devon technologies do have some video tutorials on their website for the interested.
Mark Shead says
@Patrick – Thanks for pointing out Vimeo. I had seen them before, but didn’t realize how drasticly different the quality was. I was looking at just hosting the video myself, but youtube was quick and easy to get something up. I will definitely look into Vimeo.
@Arjun – I have a separate filing system for things that I need to modify. I’m just using DevonTHINK for things that would normally be paper sitting in the filing cabinet. One advantage of this is that it keeps my working files separate from my “reference only” stuff.
It would be very nice if someone could build an autoclassify feature that attaches to the Finder.
@nomoire – I actually thought of that when I put the shirt on, but I was planning on only doing testing instead of actually putting anything up. The test looked useful so I went ahead and posted it. I will watchout for that shirt in the future. Thanks for mentioning it.
Thanks for pointing this one out. I love DTP but wasn’t aware of this feature or how easy it is to use. The video is great – simple, straight to the point and informative.
I have a question though – given how easy it is to search even the largest DTP database what is the advantage of adding a folder structure? It seems to me that this is an added workstep that doesn’t add much extra value. I am very curious to hear what benefits you feel it brings?
Mark Shead says
@Rarem – The folders help you find things when they may not be locatable through search. Also the folder names play into the search results making it easier to find things if they are categorized.