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The Computerized Filing System for Hardcopy Documents
Peter M. Hurley
FILE is a tool intended to computerize office filing systems. It
has been designed to work well for one person's files or to
centralize the access to hardcopy documents distributed throughout
an entire office area. FILE does not force any of the people using
the computerized filing system to reorganize any of their individual
file cabinets. Instead, FILE has been designed to augment all
manual filing operations.
FILE lets you find all documents related to a particular subject or
combination of subjects quickly, no matter who received the document
or no matter where the document is physically filed. You can narrow
down the list of possibly desirable documents by specifying the
author (or list of authors), by specifying before or after dates, or
by specifying a list of subjects each of which must be included in
the document before it would be chosen.
FILE is a TOPS-20 program that will run on any DECSYSTEM-20
computer. It is a highly optimized data base system capable of
handling over one million document entries efficiently. FILE uses
all of the ease of use facilities of the DECSYSTEM-20 to provide an
easy to learn and convenient tool that can be used by everybody.
FILE allows simultaneous access by more than one person to the same
data base. It keeps a transaction log of all references to the data
base. It provides a mechanism for dumping the data base onto a file
that can subsequently submitted directly to the batch system to
rebuild the data base from scratch. It also provides a mechanism
for checking the consistency of the data base and for determining if
the data base needs rebuilding.
FILE also outputs several reports which can be used for manual
searches for documents. These reports provide a list of documents
sorted by author, keyword, file cabinet location, or title.
How to use FILE
1) Setting up a computerized filing system
The first step is to decide who is going to use the
computerized filing system. It is necessary that all of the
people who will be entering information into the system or
who will be using FILE to find what documents are available
have read/write access to the FILE data base. This means
that when the computerized filing system is set up, the FILE
data base be put in a directory that is commonly accessible
by everybody. This can be done through the correct setting
of the directory and data base file protections, by the
appropriate use of directory and user groups, or by letting
each person directly connect to the common directory area by
giving out the password of the directory to each user of the
2) Choose a name for the data base
Whenever anybody runs FILE, it will ask them for the name of
the data base that they want to use. The name of the data
base must be chosen the very first time an entry is made to
the data base. From then on, the same name must be
specified to reference the documents already entered in the
data base. The default name (used if the user does not
enter anything) is "FILE.DATA-BASE". Any legal TOPS-20 file
name is acceptable. The transaction log that is
automatically kept by FILE will have the same file name as
the data base and will have the file type
3) Adding new entries to the data base
New entries are added to the data base by using the "ADD
DOCUMENT" command. (See below for a detailed description of
all of the commands.) This command will ask for the title of
the document, the author(s), the date of the document, the
physical location of the file cabinet and the name of the
folder within the file cabinet where the document is filed,
and a set of keywords or key phrases that represent the
subject matter of the document.
The physical location of the file cabinet is usually
shortened to something easy to remember and recognize such
as the initials of the person who owns the file cabinet, or
the name of the file cabinet (e.g. "PMH", "SAC", "1", "2",
"A", "B", ...).
The keywords or key phrases should be carefully chosen such
that other people interested in finding this document would
think up the same word or phrase. The number of keywords
for each document is not limited, so entering more than one
keyword where appropriate is useful. The exact ordering of
the words within a key phrase is not required for a match to
be obtained. Likewise, plurals, past tenses, and even some
misspellings will be correctly matched.
4) Modifying an entry
If a mistake is made while entering the information about a
document, it can be corrected by using the "SET" commands.
5) Searching for documents
To search the data base for documents, you use the "FIND"
command. This command will ask for the qualifiers that you
want to use to narrow down the list of possible documents.
The available qualifiers are: author, after date, before
date, and keywords. Whenever a qualifier is specified, the
document must match that qualifier before it is chosen. If
multiple qualifiers are specified, then the document must
match all of these qualifiers before it is chosen.
6) Deleting documents
If it becomes necessary to clean out a file cabinet and
throw away some documents, it is possible to mark that those
documents are no longer available by using the DELETE
command. This can also be done if the document gets lost.
If the document ever gets returned to the file cabinet, it
can be marked as such by using the UNDELETE command.
This command allows you to enter new documents into the data
base. It will prompt for five items.
Author: (a list of names is also acceptable)
Date: (the date the document was written)
Keywords: (or key phrases)
File cabinet location/Folder name:
At the end of the command, FILE will type out the document
number that has been assigned to this document. This number
only serves the purpose of identifying the document when
changing information about the document or when typing out
the available information about a document. This number
should be copied onto the document before the document is
filed away in the file cabinet.
This command checks that the data base is consistent. It is
used only as maintenance function. If the data base has
become inconsistent, it should be rebuilt. See the
DUMP-DATABASE command for this procedure.
DELETE DOCUMENT number
The DELETE command is used to mark that a document has been
deleted from the file cabinet. Deleting a document will
cause that document to always be skiped during a FIND
DUMP-DATABASE (TO CONTROL FILE) file-name
This command creates a batch control file that can be used
to rebuild the data base. The purpose of this feature is to
allow the user of FILE to occasionally take a checkpoint of
the data base. Then, if the data base ever gets
accidentally messed up or deleted, it can be rebuilt up to
the point of the last checkpoint.
This command exits back to the EXEC and ends the session.
The FIND command is used to locate documents in the data
base. This command will prompt the user for the author, a
range of dates, and a set of keywords. You do not have to
answer each question (i.e. type a carriage return to go to
the next prompt). For example, if you want to find all
documents on a particular subject, enter the desired subject
name when it prompts for a keyword. If you want to limit
the list to just documents by a particular author, enter the
author's name when it prompts for author names and then
proceed on to enter the desired keywords.
LIST argument file-name
The LIST and the TYPE commands are primarily used to print
the information about any document in the data base. The
LIST command goes to a file or the line printer, and the
TYPE command goes to the terminal. These commands take the
AUTHORS Prints list of all authors
DOCUMENT-NUMBER number Prints specified document
FILE-CABINET-FOLDER-NAMES Prints list of all folder
KEYWORDS Prints list of all keywords
TITLES Prints list of all titles
In order to get a sorted list of authors, folder names,
keywords, or titles, output the list to a disk file and then
use SORT to sort it. For example:
FILE>LIST KEYWORDS KEYS.UNSORTED
SORT>SORT /REC:150 /KEY:10,40 /ASCII /SEQ KEYS.UNSORTED KEYS.SORTED
The SET command is used to change specific information about
any document in the data base. The arguments to the SET
SET AUTHORS (OF DOCUMENT) number (TO) author name, author name, ...
SET DATE (OF DOCUMENT) number (to) date
SET KEYWORDS (OF DOCUMENT) number (TO) keyword, keyword, ...
SET LOCATION-OF-FILE-CABINET (OF DOCUMENT) number (TO) file cabinet/folder name
SET TITLE (OF DOCUMENT) number (TO) title
UNDELETE DOCUMENT number
This command will undelete a document that had been