A manual database is a hard-file storage system that consists of paper records, folders and filing cabinets or storage boxes. A quality manual database system makes it easy to retrieve documents and information when they are needed.
Another term for a manual database is a document management system. The Environmental Protection Agency recommends organizing a manual database alphabetically, chronologically, numerically or with an alphanumeric system. Other tips include minimizing record storage to necessary records, cleaning out documents frequently and using the most obvious organizational method. Computerized databases are rapidly replacing manual databases for document storage. Computer databases cross-reference all records, making it easier and faster to retrieve data.