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folders to which they are secured by clips. Folders represent subject exclusively. I recently saw an attempt made to file letters by titles of bureaus, offices, names, etc. It was hopeless, inadequate, restricted, and confused. All naval officers have a certain familiarity with filing systems, and to permit the installation of such an inadequate system proves my claim: THAT THE ROOT OF MUCH EVIL IS LACK OF PROPER SUPERVISION.
One advantage of the system which is advocated in this paper is its flexibility. It grows as your requirements increase, and does not necessitate any very elaborate mapping prior to its establishment. The ideal method of indexing is to use index cards with JUST ENOUGH cross-indexing to cover normal requirements, but not to make a picture puzzle. KEEP A BRIGHT LOOKOUT FOR overorganisation. Nearly all clerks and yeomen inherit this trait, and if not carefully supervised, will build a system requiring unnecessary labor. Remember that Work makes work" and so on the tail is wagging the dog.
Instead of using index cards, some yeomen prepare two pamphlet lists on official size paper; one an alphabetical and the other a numerical list. This scheme has some advantages from the yeoman's point of view, although I do not consider it as good. as the index card system.
One of the most important parts of any filing system is its day book or chronological record of all outgoing and incoming correspondence. The following instructions which are pasted in the front cover of the day book are self-explanatory. It was found necessary to make them a part of the book in order to prevent yeomen from forgetting, in the beginning only, the routine, or making unauthorized changes adversely affecting the completeness or simplicity of the scheme.
THE DAY BOOK “ This book is a chronological record of all outgoing and incoming correspondence. To be of value, it must be absolutely complete in all details. If complete, it will save much time in locating correspondence.” “ The book is divided into two parts:
Pages 1 to 100: Letters and reports sent.
“ Letters and Reports Sent. This part records in tabular form to whom each letter is sent, the subject of the letter, where filed, and any remarks. Each day's record is complete and follows the previous day's record, from which it is separated by two or three blank lines, on one of which the current day's date is stamped. This scheme results in each day's record forming a complete group under its own date, the separated groups adding clearness and greater facility in searching for correspondence.”
" Endorsements are recorded in this section as letters sent, and under the remarks column a note is made indicating it is an endorsement."
“Letters Received. This form is similar to the first section, except that it requires a double page for complete entry instead of a single page. It contains columns for recording the following data: From whom the letter is received. His file number. The date of his letter. Our file number. The subject of the letter and a column for remarks. The last two items, requiring most space, are given the entire right-hand page of each pair.
The' other items and one small blank column for indicating to whom the correspondence is thrown, occupy the left-hand page.”
“Each day's record is separated from the previous day's group by the same scheme as in the first part of book.”
Procedure.--Immediately upon receipt of mail, the date of receipt is stamped on each letter in the middle of the bottom margin. This scheme facilitates locating dates, as they can be seen by merely turning over the bottoms of the letters like turning over the pages of a book.
After stamping dates, all letters are logged in sequence in day book, first having started the day's record by stamping date in the middle of the page two lines below the last entry of the previous day.
All letters are then delivered to the captain. After glancing through them to acquaint himself with their requirements, he indicates by the key numbers to whom letters are to be referred for action.
The yeoman records in pencil in the black column on left-hand page of "Letters received " the key numbers of officers, and then delivers letters. When letters are returned to captain's desk the key numbers are checked, and letters are filed or otherwise disposed of.
If answer is required, data is given in pencil memo. when letter is returned to captain's yeoman; or, answer may be prepared for captain's signature.
After a reasonable time, all officers against whom letters are charged will be notified as a check against their overlooking them.
Officers to whom letters are referred will initial same alongside their key numbers.
The operation of the system is much simplified where a general office is possible; but it will work equally well in an old ship, except that the captain's office takes much of the work.
The one thing to keep in mind is DO NOT OVERORGANIZE. Before you make any change—a one-time mistaken navy synonym for improvement-calculate the cost, and see if you can show a saving of 6 per cent on the investment. If you can, go ahead; it is good business. If you cannot, do not touch it. This applies equally well both to labor and energy as well as to dollars and cents. Captain F. R. Clark, U. S. Navy, gave me that advice when I went to Indian Head. It was his only advice, but it covered every case fully, and I advise all hands to try it in their work afloat as well as ashore.
A glance at this model of the numerical index (page 576) shows that sub-heads can be increased indefinitely without disturbing any others. This renders the system very elastic, capable of fitting the most detailed or the most general correspondence. All file numbers are entered on correspondence in pencil. If at any future date the subdivision of any folder appears desirable, a new folder can be started, a new sub-number assigned, the new number marked on the faces of the letters to be shifted, and noted in the file column of the day book.
All letters sent and received regarding the same subject carry the same file number ONLY. No attempt is made to give them special numbers in their folders, they are filed chronologically with the most recent date on top.
All ships having separate offices will require copies of the alphabetical and the numerical indexes in each office, so that each can prepare its letters as far as possible for the captain's signature, thereby relieving his office of much routine work. Do not conclude from this that the captain is a rubber stamp. Before any letter is drafted, the captain and all the officers interested
Battery, guns, ordnance cards re battery. II-1 Guns, sights and gun mounts. 11-2 Practice, target, report of, correspondence re. 11-3 Electrical fire control, pipes voice, telephones, fire control reports
and correspondence re ordnance cards, re fire control.
II-4 11-5 11-6
Books, signal battle and signal. 12-I Books, library, professional, etc., library. 12-2 Confidential publications, receipts for, etc. 12–3 Logs, steam, deck and engineering, receipts for, etc. 12–4 Publications other than confidential. 12-5 12-6
Boats, landings, equipment, etc.
13 13-1 13-2 13-3
14 Boilers, general correspondence re. 14-1 Boilers, furnaces, cements, etc., paints boiler furnace. 14–2 Boilers, safety valves, settings, etc. 14-3 Boilers, grate bars. 14-4 Boilers, fittings. 14-5 14-6 14-7
15 Charts, correspondence re.
16 Clerks, mail. Mail.
in the subject discuss the matter fully. After a decision is reached, the letter is written and it represents the combined opinion of all interested parties. It is remarkable how quickly such conference methods clear up most situations and promote the "gettogether” spirit. The results are obvious.
(Pink Cards) Each report is recorded on a separate card (3 inches by 5 inches) in the same manner as inspections, the cards pink in color. They are given sequence numbers, and are arranged in the same groups with the inspections cards. There is also a synopsis card showing all reports. The following is a model:
LIST OF ROUTINE REPORTS
32 44 54 77 88
The third column is in pencil and indicates the highest numbered report card in each group.
The following is a complete list of report cards taken from my tickler. If each is copied on a separate card in the same form, they will be ready for filing in the tickler:
I ALL TRANSFERS ENLISTED
WHEN OCCURRING. MEN, STRAGGLERS, DESERTERS
S.&A. form 228.