Are Your Documents Findable Or Just Searchable?

Are Your Documents Findable Or Just Searchable?

Needle In A HaystackIf you have been reading DocumentSnap for any length of time, you will know that I am always going on about making your PDFs searchable.

One of the first things I tell people to do when they are setting up their scanner is to enable the OCR option so that the contents of their PDF can be indexed.[1]

Every time I write about making documents searchable, I am reminded of an email that a DocumentSnap reader sent me back in the summer. Amongst other things, it contained this line:

I don’t need my documents “searchable” but “findable”.

I really love this line because it brings up an excellent point: the purpose of doing all this, which can get lost sometimes, is to be able to find the documents that we are filing away. Optical Character Recognition is the tool, not the goal.

How do you make sure that your documents are findable and not just searchable? Aside from, yes, turning on OCR, I would suggest:

  1. Using a folder and/or tag structure[2] that makes sense to you and is not overly-complex.
  2. Using a smart, consistent naming convention for your documents.
  3. Making sure everything is backed up and test your backups.

So, consider myself smacked down for my over-use of the word “searchable”. How about you, are you making your documents findable or just searchable?

  1. If you have no idea what I am talking about here, I made a video about how OCR and searchable PDFs work that people seem to like.  ↩

  2. Replace “folder structure” with whatever software you are using, such as Notebooks in Evernote.  ↩

About the Author

Brooks Duncan helps individuals and small businesses go paperless. He's been an accountant, a software developer, a manager in a very large corporation, and has run DocumentSnap since 2008. You can find Brooks on Twitter at @documentsnap or @brooksduncan. Thanks for stopping by.

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