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Folder structure for geotech topics, manuals, research papers, etc.
4

Folder structure for geotech topics, manuals, research papers, etc.

Folder structure for geotech topics, manuals, research papers, etc.

(OP)
I've accumulated a lot of PDFs over the years (research papers, field manuals, design manuals, etc.) related to various topics in geotechnical engineering such as soil and rock mechanics, shallow and deep foundation design, slope stability, and ground improvement, to name a few. I started saving all of this information as a college student and my folders have turned into complete chaos. It is always a struggle to find things and I often save copies of the same PDF in two different locations unknowingly. Does anyone have an outline of a folder directory structure for geotechnical engineering that is organized well and has stood the test of time? I suppose I could round up a bunch of my textbooks on various topics and organize things based on the tables of contents.

RE: Folder structure for geotech topics, manuals, research papers, etc.

For myself I prefix with textbooks, design manuals(from various organizations and municipalities and governments), software manuals, ASTM / iso, then I have journal papers and conference papers lumped together based on topic.

Only the papers and proceedings are put in different folders and they usually reference each other as they build upon each others work. Also able to search the folders by author, year and title of paper.

RE: Folder structure for geotech topics, manuals, research papers, etc.

I still keep everything from my school days sorted by class, even if digital references were provided in the class. I didn't really start developing any real organization of material until starting work. But even when I was going to graduate school part time while working full time, I just sorted the references provided by class as well. Typically if it's a useful source of information, I'll remember where I put it.

I have a couple of main folders: (Example) Calculations, Forms, Grad School, Jobs (projects from past employment), Reference Library, and Software Manuals. Organizing the calculations, forms, jobs, and software manuals is pretty straight forward since it's either not as abundant as my reference library or things like projects from past employment is obvious how to sort. The reference library is tricky and my organization isn't perfect. Some files could go into multiple folders. For me, the best thing is to make sure the file is accurately named so you can just search for it in the instance when you can't find it. I couldn't tell you how many codes or manuals I've downloaded that were named some series of numbers without any text.

The main subfolders in my Reference Library folder are: Standards (ACI, AISC, ASTM, ect.), Codes, Concrete, Conference Material, Design Manuals, Drafting, FHWA, Inspection Manusl, Manufacturer Product Info, NCHRP, Papers, Pavement Design, Seismic Design, Slope Stability, Specifications, Subsurface Investigations, Surveying, USACE, Vibration Monitoring. There are more subfolders in my Reference Library but I don't think listing them would be helpful to you.

Overtime I'm sure you'll figure out your own system. Just try to be diligent by periodically organizing your folder and back them up on a personal cloud space if you're not already doing that.

RE: Folder structure for geotech topics, manuals, research papers, etc.

I think redundancy is simply a fact of life, and the seemingly infinite capacity of today's hard drives makes pack ratting fun and productive.

I think the two biggest things you can do are:
> use the actual title of each article or document; possibly trim the title if keywords are more apropos
> use something like Voidtools' Everything for searching

TTFN (ta ta for now)
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RE: Folder structure for geotech topics, manuals, research papers, etc.

(OP)
Thank you all for your suggestions. I'm a bit of an organizational freak and the fact that many geotechnical topics overlap does not help. I'll slowly chip away it and see where I get. Thanks again!

RE: Folder structure for geotech topics, manuals, research papers, etc.

You can search a folder of PDF files by opening Acrobat and using advanced search.

By default, if you open Adobe Reader and press CTRL + F, you'll get the normal search box. It is located at the top right. To use the advanced PDF search option, you can choose Advanced Search from the Edit drop down menu or press SHIFT + CTRL + F. Go ahead and enter the phrase you are searching for in the search box.

This obviously won't work with older image scanned documents, so you might want to identify those PDF Image documents and open up the Edit Tab & Properties box and add a Subject and some Keywords to make them respond to the Advanced Search.

You can also have multiple Subject folders and simply add a shortcut to the source PDF. I do this with photos because they add up to a lot of drive space.

RE: Folder structure for geotech topics, manuals, research papers, etc.

I like to have hard copies of the most important references...but I also keep digital files of these references... but having hard copies I can organize my references in shelves like a small library (we have some space in our office to do that).

RE: Folder structure for geotech topics, manuals, research papers, etc.

I sort my books in Calibre. you can tag books and makes looking much easier. I store everything from text books, my licences and certificates, standards, etc

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