What Are Numerical Filing Systems?

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A numerical file system is a system based on ordering by an increasing succession of numbers. Medical offices, libraries and other locations often use numerical systems for filing.

Numerical filing systems aid in ordering various types of information and can be easily expanded. There are four primary ways to indicate numbers in the system:

  1. Numbers follow a chronological order by which additional files take the next number in the sequence
  2. Numbers follow a categorical system designated by the particular business
  3. Numbers continue the order of an existing numerical system
  4. Numbers are randomly generated

Files are typically stored in order regardless of the specific type of numerical system used. Some numerical systems are used in combination with an alphabetical system, such as with patient files. For example, a file will be cataloged by both the patient name and a numerical value. Some of these systems use patient initials and are known as alphanumeric systems.

Terminal digit filing is another type of numerical system, and it is used in locations such as hospitals and institutions with large numbers of files. Terminal digit filing uses groups of files, in which all the files in a particular group end in the same two numbers. Such a system creates 100 separate groups numbered from 00 to 99.