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vertical file

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n. ~ 1. Furniture used to hold folders containing documents and designed to provide access from the short side. - 2. Materials, often of an ephemeral nature, collected and arranged for ready reference.


Vertical files1 commonly have two, four, or five drawers. They may be designed to hold letter or legal size folders. - A vertical file2 is an example of an artificial collection.

(D Levy 2001, p. 68–69) Melvil Dewey, the inventor of the Dewey Decimal System, adapted the idea of the library card catalog . . . to produce the vertical filing system we still use today. In this system, consisting of hanging file folders and stored in file cabinets, it was much easier to add documents to folders, to add new folders, and to move folders around. Vertical files also took up considerably less space than flat files. . . . The new vertical filing system was much acclaimed; it won a gold prize in the 1893 Chicago World's Fair.