The Case for File Cabinets

from NYTs

Remember filing cabinets? Those lumbering, clattering towers of drawers stuffed full of Pendaflex folders? They were once vital to every workplace, as much a part of the landscape as desks and chairs. There was always a warren of them in a back room somewhere, and no matter what your eventual profession, if you ever served time as an intern, an executive assistant, a clerk or a catalog manager, you filed. You filed and filed until your thumbs wore down. You’d painstakingly recenter those metal rods, always prone to slipping free; you’d occasionally handwrite a label onto the perforated fragment of paper nested inside each plastic tab, folding it just so and inserting it, only to see it worm out the other end. And only after you’d climbed a few rungs on the corporate ladder could you let all this filing go to someone else, another rung down.

But filing wasn’t just for the office; files were part of our innermost personal lives. (Let’s not forget that the portal into John Malkovich’s mind lurked behind — why, yes — a file cabinet.) For a young adult, acquiring your first metal contraption, or one of those brown accordion files with the little figure-eight string closure, was part of becoming a grown-up. It was no longer Mom’s job to keep track of your life’s paperwork. It was on you.

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  1. At this point in life, there is really almost zero need for having a physical filing cabinet, unless it is for things that cannot be copied, such as certificates, receipts, art projects, etc. With hard drive storage being so cheap and not nearly taking up as much space as a full filing cabinet would, there should be no reason as to why people who are less tech-savvy are not transitioning to online storage. I have experienced both methods of filing, and I would choose online storage any day. Especially in today’s world, the majority of files sent are online to begin with. Even if the file is a physical copy, all you would have to do is scan it into your computer and download it. From here, it is so much easier to navigate your files. They are all right in front of you on one computer screen in their own folders, and if you can locate a specific one, all you have to do is type the file name in the search bar and it brings it right up for you. Rather than having to sift through a million papers in a filing cabinet to find a specific document. When the article said that physical filing was better in certain ways because it allowed individuals to remember the information better, as well as have better organization skills, I could not have disagreed more. I filed papers for a chemical transportation company and for my dad’s business during the summer and I could not tell you what one of those documents said. No one actually reads the documents; They just look at the title or company name and put it in the correct folder. And forget about looking for a specific document when finding the folder. Some of the folders I filed papers into were busting at the seam. I could not even imagine how long it would take for someone to locate a particular paper in that. While physical filing cabinets have not gone fully extinct, they are not as useful as they once were.

  2. I mostly agree with the author about how filing cabinets are no longer necessary. I used to work for a trucking company during my senior year of high school – in the office, there was one wall in the back dedicated to holding all of the company’s files. I can still picture it so clearly in my head, there must have been 5 or 6 stacks of filings cabinets that towered over me. While most of the company’s files were digital and easily accessible from a computer, there was still of a lot of files that were stored the old fashioned way. As much as I enjoyed the ease of digital files, there was something charming about the physical filing cabinets. Sure, they got on my nerves sometimes and it would take slightly longer to find what I needed, but I honestly enjoyed going through them. It offered me an excuse to get up from my desk and move around which was something I did not have the opportunity to do very much since I had to sit at my desk all day.

  3. I remember the days of using a filing cabinet to store all of my papers. As a matter of fact I still have one in my house. I’ll tell you what, they are the most antiquated and out of date organizational system that I can think of. For being an organizational system, it is very easy to lose something or not be able to find something in your filing cabinet. I agree with the author in the fact that filing cabinets are simply not needed anymore. It can take me one second to pull up a file on my computer rather than the 5 minutes scavenging around in the filing cabinet looking for a paper. It is so much easier to be organized with a computerized system compared to just the antiquated filing cabinet system. I do understand that some people enjoy the feeling of holding the actual document. However I do not agree with this logic for many different reasons. First, using paper is much less efficient. For example if changes need to be made to a document it is easier to just go into the computerized system and fix the error right then and there. Compared to using the filing cabinet the process would take much longer. On top of that, everyone is going in the same direction by using the internet. If you don’t use the internet you are not only less efficient and not keeping up with competitors, but you are also not satisfying the customer or whoever it is that you are trying to help.
    I remember with the filing cabinet that my parents own, it is always so loud, cluttered and unorganized. If they ask me to get a file out of there, I usually am in there for 10 plus minutes searching for the right paper that they want. I believe the biggest challenge is getting other people familiar with technology. Technology is so much more efficient and easy to use. Once you know how to use it, all processes go so much faster.
    Ultimately I agree with the author that filing cabinets are outdated and should be replaced and thrown in the trash. They are an inefficient system which can be easily replaced by a computerized system. It is so much easier and faster with computers and that is why I firmly believe that filing cabinets are antiquated and should be replaced immediately.

  4. I enjoyed reading this article and think that the author, Pamela Paul, made some good points. She made a slight argument for the positive aspects of the digital age, but mostly focused on some of the downsides of storing information digitally. Paul mentions that the use of digital storage of documents and information is useful for a few reasons. Having all of the information one could possibly need be in one place (usually accessible from anywhere through the cloud) is definitely a plus. She explains that physical documents are no longer necessary and that digital storage is “more organized,…more efficient and secure,… and more environmentally friendly.” The rapidly decreasing need for physical documentation allows for better systems to be set up so that information can be more easily found, harder for just anyone to access, and does less harm to our already struggling planet. With these advances, even if an individual has a physical copy of a document, one can easily store it digitally by scanning and uploading it to their personal computer. Smartphones and digital apps are even becoming equipped with “scanning technology” to make the process even easier. Personally, during the pandemic, one of my professors wanted us to physically do our work on a piece of paper but required us to digitally submit the assignment. Luckily, I had multiple different app options that would allow me to just take a picture of my work and it would automatically convert it to a PDF; I would then send it to my computer and submit it there or I could directly submit my assignment on my phone with ease.
    Conversely, Paul explains all that can be lost when transferring to digital information storage. Most of this loss is psychological, but it can lead to real physical consequences. For example, she explains that “In the same way people acquire and retain information better when handwriting rather than [typing], manually going through papers and positioning them in a physical space reinforces the information” which makes sense to me. I am definitely more of a “physical” (sometimes visual) learner, so if I have to remember something I benefit from actually being able to interact with it physically which helps me to better remember information. Paul goes over a concept that I am fairly familiar with: “for those with a tactile or visual orientation, placing documents in a particular place imprints them in your brain,” which I completely understand. With so much information being stored and accessed exclusively virtually, there are aspects of learning and information retention that will be lost when filing cabinets become “extinct.”

  5. Nowadays, almost everything is online. With technology being so advanced and having the ability to store documents online, I do not think that there is really a big need for filing cabinets. Filing cabinets are generally used to store paper documents and keep them organized in folders. I think that most documents should be scanned and stored online. As someone that has used both methods, I definitely believe that storing documents online is easier. To start, it keeps the documents more organized and easy to find. When you are looking for a document online, you can simply search the title of the document and it will show up. When looking for a document in a filing cabinet, you have to go through the countless folders to find the one you are looking for. That is why when the article mentioned that filing cabinets keep documents better organized, I disagreed. I strongly believe that storing any sort of document online allows for better organization. I used to use filing cabinets when I helped my dad with his business last summer. Even though there was an organization system in place by organizing the files in alphabetical order, it was still so hard to locate documents. There were so many files that I would still be looking for one document for a minimum of 5 minutes. Looking up a document online takes just seconds. Storing documents online is also better because you can access them at any time. When documents are stored in filing cabinets, you can only access them when you are in the office or wherever the filing cabinet is located. However, if the documents are stored online, you can access them anywhere because technology can travel. I know for my dad’s work, he has to bring home the physical documents that he needs to use. If they were located online, he would not have to bring it home and could just use his computer. Overall, I think that filing cabinets are something that we need to move on from. In a world where almost everything is online, there is no reason why we should still be using filing cabinets. Storing documents online is better for organization and allows us to access documents from anywhere. That is why I believe that physical filing cabinets are a thing of the past.

  6. Filing cabinets used to be essential in sorting documents and were the best way to organize things properly. In most workplaces, there would be large filing cabinets to hold company records. These systems of organization were essential as the internet and cloud did not exist. There has been a switch to digitizing all information within the last generation. The previous generation did not grow up using technology nearly as much as the current generation. The internet was not always around, and especially not more sophisticated forms of technology such as the cloud.

    The digitalization of all information has been gradual over time, but is now insanely widespread. Almost every piece of information for companies is located online. Information records are now stored within the cloud instead of large physical filing cabinets. In today’s digital age, everything is pushed to be online only. Having physical documents, photos, and more is now becoming almost obsolete. Even meetings are becoming digital with the coronavirus pandemic speeding up the already fast-moving digital revolution. People were forced to stay inside and could not physical meet in person, sparking a fast change in business modality. Now that the world is returning to state of normalcy, more things can be done in person, but there are new online normalcies that are here to stay.

    These cabinets were not only for businesses, but also for personal information and belongings. This could include social security cards, passports, and other personal documents that needed to be kept safe. The personal information that people may have been hesitant to give away is now often given within seconds and can be accessed by almost anyone, anywhere in the world. Databases contain the personal information of almost everyone and is also easily accessible.

    With the information of billions of people so readily available, there becomes an ethical issue of privacy. Information is available to so many people, and can always be hacked and fall into the wrong hands. While some online records have heavy security and are not able to be viewed by everyone, there is always a risk that this information can be accessed and used against an individual. If this personal information was in the physical hands of the person, then there would be no concern about where the information was going, or who could get a hold of it.

    Using online systems and resources instead of physical filing cabinets could have downfalls, but is overall more efficient than regular filing cabinets. Storing information physically is more effective for security reasons, but for companies and businesses, it is much simpler to store mass amounts of information online. With everything becoming digital, there will always be drawbacks to this type of system, but overall, the system is efficient and safe. There are large security measures taken and most companies securely have information stored. The information if stored online is also more efficient and easy to access. The information online can be accessed at any location, as long as there is internet access. It is also easier to search the information to find what information you need.

    While the author of the article believes that physical filing can sometimes be better, I generally disagree, but I can understand some aspects that are better physically. Filing cabinets still exist today, but are not nearly as necessary and common as they once were.

  7. The article speaks on filing cabinets and the relevance of them. Personally I believe they are of no use. With more advanced computers, many objects that used to be of importance have no use now. The website says it best. Files can be saved on something as small as a flash drive. Even smaller, it can be stored on the “cloud”. For example, iCloud, google drive, drobox, etc. There is a problem with all of our data and files being put online. It is that it can be arguably more easily accessible to someone who shouldn’t have access to it. Similar to TID #2, our data can be accessed for unethical reasons. If you sign the terms and service, you can sign off you information if you’re not careful. Your data can also be hacked and stolen from online. Like I have been saying in previous comments and TID’s, with new circumstances come new problems.
    Filing cabinets are not the only thing that will be of no use. Something as small as your iPhone has taken the job of many small tools and objects. For example the phone took away the need for stand alone gps systems. Your smartphone has one already built in.
    I think that the filing cabinets represent something bigger than what they actually are. They represent how new technology takes away the need for many tools that were of the most importance.

  8. The world has changed for good and bad, but it is fair to say that the most significant advantage that people have today compared to the past is the internet and technology, and the main problem we have now that we did not know before is climate change. Having documents online is easier and better for the environment. Yes, some documents are incredibly secret, and they do not have to be online, but those are documents that regard national security issues, but online should be the only option for regular people. It is clear that lowering the demand for paper we are going to make a difference with climate change, why not? There is not a single valid reason for people to print most documents. Online is cheaper, easier and it helps to stop climate change. It is pure and simple logic.

  9. Among the many advancements of society, the minimum use of paper work is definitely a major plus for both corporations and employees.

    The long process of filing is hectic and very annoying, but now with technology everything is digitalized which allows for a more efficient and direct process of filing. And what’s even better is that there is little to no chance of files getting lost. Even as for myself, using my phone I can easily track photos from 5 years ago within minutes.

    This also reminds me of the switch from photo albums to digitized albums. The reason I wanted to bring this up because the feeling of seeing a photo album in comparison to seeing a photo on your phone, is simply just not the same. The same thing goes for paperwork, one may see some paperwork they kept at home after a long while and appreciate it more. And although this may not be significant, the little things do count.

    One aspect which is also very critical especially due to the issue with climate change, there will be less use of natural resources in order to produce paper, less trees will be cut since less paper will be used, which completely outweighs seeing any photo albums. As the World switches to renewable energy, all aspects of life are also switching to more efficient and environmental friendly methods in the workforce and daily life.

    Th reality is simplicity results in expecting less, however advancements result in more efficient and concise work. So our switch from paperwork to the cloud is a huge work in progress. As we see issues with climate change rise, advancements like the cloud will definitely play a positive impact in society.

  10. In the past, filing cabinets were a staple of corporate culture and symbolic of the everyday work that goes on in various different corporate industries. However, today the filing cabinet is not what it once was. While filing cabinets used to be a relevant and essential part of every office in America, they have all but disappeared. As more and more advanced technology takes over our workplace we wind up with new obsolete items every year. Today as most files in the workplace are kept electronically, there is no need for filing cabinets. Newer databases which can retrieve data in less than a few seconds mean that there is no longer a need for anyone to take minutes or even hours to sort through files to find information. This is great news for businesses that used to depend on such processes to carry out their day to day operations. Gone are the days of endlessly searching through files to retrieve information and wasting countless hours of possible productivity. Now, businesses are able to easily find what they are looking for at the touch of a button, making this process much easier for employees to carry out and also much smoother and more efficient for the business as a whole.

    In terms of business law this means that businesses must keep up with technological advances and the news laws that come with them. This story is very symbolic of the sort of change that happens each and every day in the world of business and is indicative of that businesses must always keep up in order to stay competitive, efficient, and profitable. Businesses that fail to prepare for the future will be unable to compete with their competitors and will be unlikely to stay afloat in the long run. For this reason it is highly important that businesses keep current with all aspects of what they do including their methods of data collection and business law changes. Much like how methods of keeping and retrieving information change, so do business law standards. As laws change and are updated, similar to the pace of technology and the corporate upgrades around the office, businesses must keep current and understand these changes into order to be successful in the future. This process is akin to the upgrade of the filing system as important changes in business law can be just as important to the success of a business as any technological innovation.

  11. As the world becomes more digitalized, things like filing cabinets become outdated. Clunky metal boxes that once were widely used by everyone and their mother (literally) to store our history, important documents and files, medical records, business information, and basically anything else you could put on paper, are now barely present. Nowadays, we have the cloud, and all these different storage apps and server systems to do the job of filing cabinets for us. The shift to digital storage has made storing things way more efficient and secure. Its a lot harder to lose track something when its not a physical item you have to store. Digital files also can be password protected and kept on private drives like USBs or hard drives to prevent others from being able to access them. Anyone can physically open a filing cabinet, but not just anyone can get to an encrypted file without the right skills and expertise. If something is online and you lose track of it, you can simply search it up when you need it, rather than having to go digging through a bunch of cabinets for it. But as the article states, when we don’t go digging through cabinets anymore, we lose those little moments of unexpectedly finding something from our past that possibly triggers a flashback or a good memory. Losing those moments, is simply the cost of efficiency and technical innovation.

    One downside to having digital storage apps and servers though, is that it is sometimes you do lose that familiarity with where items are physically located. Earlier I did say that online you can just search files up, but if you have many different storage apps or servers, you may fall down a digital version of the filing cabinet rabbit-hole looking for the specific file in question. With normal physical filing cabinets, you can sometimes retain information better when manually going through papers and putting them in a physical space. At times , it makes it easier to retrace your steps rather than having something buried in your computer files.

    The change from filing cabinets to digital storage represents a larger cultural shift in our society. We now crave the most efficient means of doing things, and are always looking for ways to improve and make quality of life easier. This is usually good, but there are downsides to innovation and technological advances. A lot of the systems and technologies we have in place now are resulting in the depletion of natural resources like rare earth elements/minerals, food sources, or fossil fuels. There has also been a large increase in pollution due to industrialization. This includes fossil fuel emissions, global warming, and cities around the world whose factories emit massive quantities of solid and air pollution/waste, which is resulting in large increases in cancer and chronic illnesses. Even though climate change is a highly controversial subject, many scientists agree that global warming is very real and is a threat to the human species. Technological advances may ultimately end up being the catalyst that ends human civilization, whether that ends up being sooner or later. Getting rid of filing cabinets and moving to digital storage may seem small, but it can represent the larger shift in technological advancement thay eventually may come back to hurt the human race.

  12. Unknown to me, the hacking of water systems seems to be a recurring problem in the united states. The article Security News This Week: Hackers Keep Targeting the US Water Supply talks about two separate occasions within the past year, one in Florida and one in Kansas. The Florida case was actually a successful hack. The hacker was able to hack into the system and raise the amount of sodium hydroxide in the water. This is very dangerous. The department of health classify sodium hydroxide as an extremely toxic chemical in high doses. Its potent enough to harm someone just from a touch. Once consumed, it is reported to cause nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, chest pain, stomach pain, and internal burns. Whoever was responsible for this hack was really trying to do their worse. In terms of infiltration and affecting a large area at once, damaging the water supply is a good idea. Its unexpected and efficient due to how prominent the use of water is. Attacks like these shouldn’t be possible in my opinion. How can something as important as the water supply system to an entire city in a major state like Florida be possible. The answer is quite simple. The article states that water systems like to invest the most amount of money into infrastructure oppose to software changes. This is why many water plants across the country are relatively outdated in the terms of software. Companies seem to believe that a leak or major flood is more likely to happen than a hack so they worry about infrastructure more. IT resources are also reported to be lacking meaning that once a hack happens, it takes a while for them to be resolved. Currently in most water system plants, anybody who feels like causing trouble can flip a switch and cause extreme damage. Reports of hackings are mostly involved with smaller water plants. This is because smaller plants can’t afford to stay offline for any real amount of time. These small plants are also more likely to be connected to smaller areas or cities, meaning that an entire city’s supply would be wiped out.

  13. In the past, file cabinets were an important part of the company and were indispensable. In most workplaces, there will be large file cabinets to keep company information records. But as the world becomes more digital and the Internet becomes more developed, file cabinets have slowly disappeared in our lives. We can store files and download files at any time. When you use a computer to store files, you can find the files you need more conveniently, instead of searching in large file cabinets; files in large file cabinets are easy to lose and damage, and you won’t have these problems when you store files on a computer. Although the file cabinet is a conservative place for storing files, I think it is more convenient for our work to store files on a computer, and it can save the time of finding files.

  14. Filing cabinets certainly had a role in the workplace in the recent past, but nowadays they are completely unnecessary. Filing cabinets were essential in society during the 20th century, but the growing usage and dependability of the internet and the lack of reliability of paper have caused filing cabinets to lose their role. This is mainly due to the lack of paper being used due to the internet and virtual documents such as word and google docs. With word and google docs, users can make their filing cabinets by saving documents in different files of their choice.
    The usage of the internet is much more safe and efficient. The virtual filing allows much better protection of the files. First off, they are secured by the computer and access to getting into someone’s computer. Then, many websites provide document filing with a password protecting the files as well. These files also have great stability and insurance, as filing cabinet files can be ruined very easily. Substances such as food and liquids can easily be spilled into the filing cabinets, therefore ruining an extreme amount of the documents in the filing cabinets. In comparison, there is no way of electronic documents suffering from an issue such as this. The high dependence on electronic documents also allows an easy transfer of these electronic documents to electronically stored files. Due to the usage of the internet and electronic documents, online filing cabinets are much more efficient, as well as extremely safe and secure.
    Now, I can understand why some would prefer filing cabinets. Many who have used filing cabinets throughout their careers might not want to move away from what they have been doing. Many also prefer to examine and read physical documents, so storing physical documents would allow easier access to this. With this in mind, I don’t find it logical to depend on these filing cabinets that have an extreme lack of security compared to computer filing. Filing cabinets in today’s society come down to a place of preference, even though they don’t have the value and dependence as they had decades ago due to the internet and the ability individuals have to store their information.

  15. In the article posted by the New York Times, titled The Case for File Cabinets, the author discussed how filing cabinets are becoming a thing of the past and how the world is moving towards an online era of filing. The author goes into great detail about how filing cabinets were an essential aspect of everyone’s life, despite how old you were. At the end the authors spiel, she tops it off by mentioning that “this all must sound so archaic and pointless to the Gen Z employee heading off to work in the cloud” As a member of generation Z, I completely agree with this statement. Despite, the fact that I grew up using a physical filling cabinet, I no longer find a need for them due to the advancement and societal dependency on technology. What I mean by this is that due to virtually everything being done online in today’s day and age, there is no reason to physically file and store everything. With that being said, the “cloud” is essentially a virtual filling cabinet that can be accessed wherever you are in the world as long as there is an internet connection.
    When it comes to business, it is essential for businesses to utilize the “cloud” because it makes it much easier and more efficient for all employees to access the documents, due to the fact that they are all in one place. When it comes to physical filling cabinets, it often takes a couple minutes to find the file your looking for; especially if the cabinet is not organized. With that being said, people have the ability to search for key words in order to speed up the process. Aside from the speed aspect, the business will not have to worry about losing their files because if they are stored correctly online, there is no misplacing them because it will be right where you left it. On the other hand, when it comes to physical paperwork/files, there is always a possibility that they get thrown out by accident or something spills on it. That type of stuff won’t happen within the cloud because they are stored online, so even if you destroy your computer, you will be able to access those files on another computer as long as they were uploaded to the cloud.
    In support of online e-filing, the author mentions how “scanned items can simply be transferred from one place to another through secure and password-protected pathways, then kept on assorted drives (flash, hard, shared).” This is a perfect example of how major search engine, known as Google has taken advantage of the technological advancements with their creation of Google drive. Google Drive, is a place where people have the ability to store all their files in the cloud within your Gmail account. With that being said, no matter where you are, or what system you are on, people will have access to view and share their documents as long as they are able to sign into their Google Drive account.
    Despite the numerous benefits that e-filing provides, I feel that in some circumstances, a physical filing cabinet is the better alternative. For example, when it comes to someone’s personal information such as their social security number, or banking information, I feel that it is better to store them physically, due to the fact that things such as cyber security breaches do happen. In the case of a cyber security breach, things may be accessed by people who you don’t want, which is why I find it important to store important personal information within a safe place in your home because it is less likely that it will get into the hands of the wrong person.
    Aside from personal information, when it comes to important legal documents, I also find that they should be stored in a physical filling cabinet for the same reason, because there is always a possibility of things being leaked out on the internet via security breaches.

    Paul, Pamela. Opinion | the Case for File Cabinets – The New York Times.

  16. The article from the New York Times, “The Case for File Cabinets” written by Pamela Paul was an enjoyable read this week making some interesting points about the storage systems in the workplace. I can relate to this very well as when I worked my Co-op this past summer looking for POs that were paid was a pain. There were large filing cabinets labeled A through Z with hundreds of POs organized alphabetically. When I would look for a PO under a large account such as Amazon it could take me up to twenty minutes, sometimes longer if I could not find the correct number PO. If they were all put into a system on a computer, it could take me a couple minutes to search a key word such as the numbers and I would have it in front of me rather than digging. I agree with Paul that filing cabinets are just not needed anymore and out of date. It can be so much more efficient for people to use a computerized system to view legal documents or any document that is important to the business. However, I do understand that many people still like to have the physical document in their hands knowing that they have it and it will not be deleted by accident on a computer or get hacked into (or virus). With the many advances in today’s world in technology filing cabinets seem very out of date especially since a ton of companies are going into the direct of making technology more prevalent in their workplace. If companies are still using paper documents, they are being less efficient since workers could use their time on bigger projects that are needed by the company rather than spending priceless time on searching for a document in a filing cabinet.
    I believe and agree with Paul with the information she provided in the reading that filing cabinets are outdated and should be replaced with technology. Training employees in a business to use new technology in today’s world will make their business much more efficient. With accounting firms using natural language processors (NPLs) this is just a start in the business world to make the change from traditional methods to following the trends of the new technology age. Why should businesses use important time that their employees need for big projects or presentations searching in a old filing cabinet for a document that may or may not be there? They could be using that time to search it up on a cloud system that is implemented by the business that is secure and only their employees have access to so they can spend that time on meeting deadlines. E-filing can be as secure as the business wants a sit can hire someone to build a very strong system for putting personal information on, business accounts, or other important documents. If there was a natural disaster or fire in the building those filing cabinets would be destroyed leading to all the papers in those cabinets to be nonexistent. If they are on the cloud there could be a backup that would save all the information if computers got destroyed.

  17. For decades, filing cabinets were the superior means of filing and organizing important papers and documents, and played a vital role in every workplace. Use of these filing cabinets extended well outside the workplace as many used them to to contain all of life’s paperwork. This old school style of paper organization carries a certain sentimental value for many, as there is often a sense of nostalgia created when stumbling upon an old memory while flipping through files. The process of physical filing was extremely beneficial in helping organize peoples’ work life and everyday life. Similar to how people acquire and retain information better when handwriting rather than typing, manually sorting through and organizing papers in a physical space reinforces the information. Filing cabinets are especially useful for people with a tactile or visual orientation as placing documents in a particular place imprints them in their brain. Another advantage of filing cabinets is the ease with which they can be used. Nowadays, anyone can learn how to properly file documents without much training. This alleviates some of the difficulties experienced by older workers as they try to grapple with new virtual filing systems.
    Though it may take some time to adjust, switching from traditional filing cabinets to more advanced virtual filing has a number of advantages for both businesses and individuals. The first area improved by virtual filing is accessibility. Instead of having to rifle through endless filing cabinet drawers or deep storage boxes, users can now quickly and easily locate files by searching their database. The only accessibility issue that may occur is if the file requires some sort of verification to access it. This brings us to our next benefit of virtual filing which is security. Other than being able to lock the drawers, traditional filing cabinets did not have much as far as keeping documents secure or controlling who can see them. Now, all virtual documents can be transferred from one place to another through secure and password-protected pathways, then kept on assorted drives. You also no longer have to worry about losing important documents due to fire or flood, because the information is stored digitally in the cloud. Digital filing also allows you to immediately send a file to someone in their company, regardless of geographical location, without having to make a physical copy and send it through the mail.
    Overall, virtual filing is much more organized, efficient and secure than the traditional filing cabinets and procedures of the past. It is also much cleaner and more environmentally friendly as it eliminates the need for physical paper documents. Additionally, digital filing gives you much more control over who is able to view files, and what files they are allowed to view. While we may have lost some of the reality that comes with old fashioned filing cabinets, it is clear that the switch to a digital filing system is in the best interest of both businesses and individuals responsible for keeping records, as we move into the future.

  18. As odd as it might be to say, the idea of a filing cabinet is almost nostalgic. To the article’s point, rowing up my parents kept (and still do) all important documents in the office filing cabinets. From the deed to the house to birth certificates, everything is locked away in the drawers. Despite having access to a more convent, digital version of filing documents, my parents are very adamant about having a paper copy stored away. However, for me personally, I can’t say I operate the same.

    Everything I might need to have at any given time has been virtually logged. Given the fact that I move almost yearly, this is a much easier way for me to store my information. I don’t have to worry about losing a document or spend hours trying to locate it when I need it within the next five minutes. I have found that not only is it more organized, but also more efficient. Over the past few years, I have learned the importance of being organized and it has certainly paid off. I have found information needed for one class, often can be useful in another. I now file away all information, essays, or reports I think I will need later down the line, both in the classroom or the real world. On several occasions I have been so thankful I have done this, as it has saved me a considerable amount of time and effort. Additionally, the more I use these saved documents, the more I find myself fully retaining the information.

    As time has gone on, I have a very innate awareness as to where everything is stored. When I first moved to my current form of organization, I required the search bar. Now, I know the exact location of all my folders and what each one contains. This makes referencing this information all the easier and more efficient. While the article mentions how physically filing your information in certain folders imprints the location in your brain, I have found a similar result with digital filing.

    What is most interesting to me is how different people have changed their methods of storing data over time. As I mentioned my parents still use the office filing cabinets, several of their friends have abandoned them all together. Many of our neighbors actually now keep them in their garages. When asked, they all say the same thing: “There’s nothing in there, they’re just too heavy to move out!”.

    Over the summer I had the opportunity take samples from an old Air Force base. What blew my bind was the hundreds of filing cabinets, full of sensitive information, left behind. When I asked the Colonial in charge why this was, he informed me all of it had already been logged. The information left in the cabinets was simply sitting there, waiting to get disposed. While the base itself was very secure, and the filing cabinets were military grade, I still have to wonder how they are so confident nobody will get ahold of their information. However, I suppose that is yet another reason to move away from the paper filing method.

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