The following is a Plus Edition article written by and copyright by Dick Eastman.
New Year’s is a traditional time to make resolutions. I would suggest this is the perfect time to decide to organize your life. Specifically, it’s time to get rid of all the paper that is cluttering up your genealogy research as well as your need to keep receipts for income tax purposes, to keep copies of eyeglass prescriptions, to organize your warranties for the various items in your life, to keep copies of business cards, and for hundreds of other purposes where you might need to quickly and easily find a piece of “paper” in the future. Luckily, there are many software tools available for organizing your paper files by scanning them, saving the images to a database on your computer, and (optionally) throwing away the paper.
Remember when everyone talked about how we would someday become a paperless society? Now it seems like we use paper more than ever. Let’s face it – everyone still uses paper. We end up with piles of it – bills, receipts, financial and insurance statements, and much more. Still, the trend toward government and business entities wanting digital documents is growing. For instance, the Internal Revenue Service prefers that you file your taxes electronically. If an audit is requested, the I.R.S. strongly suggests you show up at the audit with electronic images of your receipts, not with boxes of paper. According to ruling Rev. Proc. 97-22 from the IRS, agency employees will accept digital documents. If you do insist on submitting tax forms and receipts on paper, the I.R.S. employees will simply scan all your paper and then throw that paper away! The agency doesn’t have enough file space to store paper from all the taxpayers, but it has lots of available space for digital storage. In addition, I.R.S. employees can retrieve electronic images much faster than they can retrieve paper documents. Perhaps you should do the same. After all, this is the 21st century!
I have written often about the advantages of genealogists going paperless. See https://duckduckgo.com/?q=site%3Aeogn.com+paperless&t=hf&ia=web for a list of my past articles about going paperless. This week, I am experimenting with a new software tool that shows a lot of promise for anyone thinking of reducing clutter and simplifying the retrieval of needed information at any time in the future.
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