Figure 2-13.-File drawer showing folders and tab positions.
These major groups are subdivided into
primary, secondary, and sometimes tertiary
breakdowns. Primary subjects are designated by
the last three digits (the hundred group) of
the code number, secondary subjects by the
last two digits, and tertiary subjects by the final
5000 General Administration and Management
5200 Management Programs and Techniques
5210 Office Methods and Paperwork
5211 Files and Records Systems
Some of the smaller subject groups are not
subdivided below the primary breakdown. Other
larger subject groups are divided into many
secondary and tertiary subjects, the extent
depending upon the scope and complexity of the
The first instruction issued by SECNAV on
the files system is SECNAVINST 5211.1, and the
subject is Mail and File Practices. Subsequent
revisions of this instruction, which are issued on
mail and file practices, are numbered 5211.1A,
5211.1B, etc. New instructions on the subject of
the files system are numbered 5211.2, 5211.3, etc.
Some filing procedures have been discussed
earlier at appropriate places and where applicable.
The following additional filing practices may
Classifying, as used here, is the process of
determining the correct subject group or name title
symbol under which correspondence should be
filed, and any subordinate subjects that should
be cross-referenced. Classifying is the most
important filing operation because it determines
where papers are to be filed.
The proper way to classify a document is to
read it carefully and analyze it, considering the
l The most important, definite, or concrete
l The purpose or general significance of the
. The manner in which similar documents
. The subject identification code under
which previous documents of a similar nature are
The subject identification code placed on the
letter by the originator may not be appropriate
for every office; therefore, the text of the letters
should be thoroughly screened and the letters filed
Parts of a document (enclosures or attach-
ments) should be filed with the basic document,
Although official letters usually are confined
to one subject, they often may be properly
classified under two or more file subjects;
therefore, they may be filed under more than one
file number. In such cases, a system of cross-
indexing is desirable.
Some letters will arrive with an extra carbon
copy that can be used for cross-reference filing.
When there is no extra copy, an Optional Form
(OF) 21 may be used. This form has space for
items that are essential to identify the communi-
cation. These forms are prepared as single sheets
and also with one or more carbons interleaved.
Cross-referencing serves a useful purpose in
locating material, but should not be overdone.
Not every document needs to be cross-referenced,
and it is a waste of time to put down every
cross-reference you can possibly think of. Try to
select only those that will likely be of use.