I had this exact same problem. Volumes of hand written notes, journals, and materials from over the years. What worked for me is slightly different than what was covered in this thread. I produce non-fiction training materials and presentations.
My materials represent transcriptions of speeches, training sessions, and reports of findings from more than 20 years of consulting. There were also magazine and marketing clippings, hand written notes, hand drawn diagrams, and pages from work journals.
Group original documents by project, rather than date. For me it was binders and folders bringing the physical documents together into outlines. If a document needed to go in two folders, then I scanned it and put a place holder in my binder. At this point some materials were thrown away, combined, or sent to transcription if better suited as an article.
Scan everything for the project I’m working on into a ScanSnap S510M I got off Craigslist. My assistant scanned some of the documents into an Epson Multi-functioning printer. Both produced reasonably well documents. I let Adobe Distiller do the OCR, which it does well. For the journals, they were sent to a scanning house, or indexed by hand to scan only necessary pages.
Code scanned documents into Scrivener projects. Kind of like a previous writer mentioned, except on a per project basis. I used Paper Tiger to code unscanned materials into file cabinets. With everything per project, I could pull up just what I’m working on. If PDF’s are saved on Google Drive, I can (kind of) search them in Paper Tiger too.
Before turning a scanned document into a chapter or section in Scrivener, I’d write a brief outline of what I’m looking to extract. In hindsight many of these documents are not perfect matches for the end project. Much of the older material needs needed refreshed or were duplicated by newer materials.
Open all my sources full screen on both monitors, print out the outline (or have it in Scrivener’s note panel) then dictate. With Dragon Naturally Speaking I could walk through the material at the speed of sound to only pull what was relevant from original materials. This saved me loads of editing.
Have the original scanned documents and coding available to editors to reference. When doing revisions in Scrivener, or on a sync’d directory of RTF files, bringing able to double check claims, concepts, and clarity items (against originals) is a huge help. I’m almost at the phone where an assistant could dictate the extraction from my outline, then someone else check it in the edit.
At the end of each writing session I export a manuscript proof, note where I left off, and update tasks related to that project in ASANA. I’m the only one in Scrivener, everyone else edits from a shared Dropbox folder that includes sync’d copies. The PDF exported manuscripts are often shared with clients for review.
What I’d like to be able to do next is embed the PDF like images into the Scrivener project. Then my manuscript proofs could contain hand written materials in development. That would give me a more usable output for editors and clients to work with … rather than looking up a document from a place holder.
I definitely recommend the off loading. My kid helps sort and index; a local assistant helps with filing, organizing, scanning, and typing; a virtual secretarial group handles typing; outside scanning groups do bigger packages and odd shaped stacks. However, since everything is grouped by project any new materials are quickly incorporated – and often there is a check waiting for finished documents.
When everything was sorted by year and month rather than topic or project, I couldn’t find anything that made a good output. The per project idea came from my mom who has several humorous short story books. She would stack up photocopies of her stories in piles representing a book, then sit down to type it all up.
With this method she could turn out a book in 30-days. If she had better luck dealing with publishers she would be famous by now. Turns out she has the same name as a famous “paranormal romance novelist” which confused publishers. She also got worked over by a few self publishing companies, and doesn’t want to write under a pen-name for some reason.
Fortunately her other talents of painting, teaching, and crafting are satisfying in retirement.
If anyone knows how to embed PDF as content in Scrivener (incorporating it into a compile) then please let me know. The only way I have found so far is to convert the PDF into images – but that was laborious so place holders are used instead, i.e. [2013_05_06_08_37_36.pdf]
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