This post is part of the paperless stories feature at DocumentSnap. Some stories are from readers that have successfully gone paperless, some are still going through it. Would you like to share your story too?
Today’s featured DocumentSnap reader is Myron Molnau from Idaho. His website is http://www.shipsonstamps.org.
What problems were you trying to solve by going paperless?
Get rid of a lot of paper that dealt with my stamp collection, books in my library, old tax records and all the loose paper from our travels.
What were the biggest stumbling blocks?
Finding the time to get started! After planning and laying out the entire process, I found I needed at least two scanners so I had to shop for new scanners. I had at least three choices for saving data so I spent more time experimenting but finally settled on using Devonthink Pro (DTP) which I have used for years and I am familiar with it. I also had to solve the problem of having several pieces of paper on my desk at one time, particularly while writing a paper or long article. This was solved by using two monitors. The rest was easy except for finding the time to do it right.
I like this quote:
If I could just do it over, I would do it better – maybe even right.
William Faulkner (1897–1962)
Tell us about your paperless workflow
The workflow is pretty much the same, regardless of what is being scanned and saved. Sort all the paper into two piles: scan and recycle (be ruthless!). I set up several Profiles on the Fujitsu S1300 so each group would have a proper name and destination. Also, not everything needs OCR. When needed, DTP would do all the OCR, not the ABBYY included with the Fujitsu. The AI in DTP does a good job in sorting through the files and putting them into proper usable groupings. That also makes it easy to get information out of DTP.
When going to the library or taking data from bound materials, I use a portable Pandigital Handheld Wand Scanner. That saves a lot of time clipping newspapers and magazines and allows very flexible use in libraries and away from home.
Is There Anything Else We Should Know?
There are two major processes in the paperless office: getting documents in and getting useful information out. I found that there was a lot of paper that I was saving that did not need to be saved. Just because you can dump it easily into a computer does not mean that you need to scan and save it. The use of Devonthink Pro, Circus Ponies Notebook, Evernote, Aquaminds NoteTaker and others like them may make a person lazy but you cannot make maximum use of the documents that you scanned unless you plan on using an intelligent scheme to retrieve those documents and be able to use them to solve some problem.
I still need to find a way to get some data types into Filemaker pro without having to use Excel as an intermediary.
Thanks Myron, That’s such a great point about the distinction between storing and retrieving useful information.
If you have questions for Myron, leave a comment and I will try to get them answered.
(Stamp photo from shipsonstamps.org)