22.00.0021: Test the Johnny.Decimal GPT

I’ve been training a GPT at OpenAI, home of ChatGPT. It’s amazing. The structured nature of Johnny.Decimal lends itself to this very well.

This has been a Johnny.Decimal blog post notification; see jdcm.al/21.05

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I mean, the objective part sounds really good :slight_smile:
I don’t have chatGPT + so I can’t test it, though.
I’m thinking maybe instead We’d be telling it where the files are first (Like one folder and all subfolders) because I’m not sure it would make sense for it to go through all of the computer’s files.
If you know Obsidian, think of Vaults.

I hacked together a proof-of-concept program that did something like that. The idea is:

  1. Point it at your file system.
  2. It scrapes the names (no content) of your files and their folders.
  3. It tries to remove crud that you don’t really care about, like temp files and so on.
  4. It feeds that to the GPT.
  5. A system is built based on your existing files but of course much neater and to the JD standard.
  6. If you’re happy with it, it’ll create you a new file system structure.
  7. You move your own files, I’m not getting involved in that.

The version I had did minimally work but it was a long way from something I’d release. I hope to get time to work on it in December.

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Bonus points if AI could build the new folder structure with old folders mapped to new ones, then ask if you wanted the files moved to the new structure. Extra-Bonus points for adding JD numbers to the beginning of each file name…

It could for sure attempt a file copy. I wouldn’t dare move anything from the existing structure. No sir.

where’s your spirit of adventure??? :wink:

I really liked the iterative approach to create my JD System. Previously, I build a system with not to much (or better structured) thought. Home life and work were partly mixed.

I went through the Workbook to create a real good proper system this time. At “33.01 Group your sticky notes” I needed longer than I was happy with. (I have to admit working with a digital white board didn’t help). With “33.04 Name you areas and categories” I turned to Johnny.Decimal Architect and had some long conversations. (First time getting to the rate limit in GPT+). Currently, I’m moving all the suff (a lot!) to the new system.

Here is what Johnny.Decimal Architect wrote about the process:

Title: Tailoring a Johnny.Decimal System to Personal and Professional Needs


We’ve just developed a custom Johnny.Decimal system, and I’d like to share our journey and the final result, which might be helpful for others looking to create their own systems.


  1. Identifying Life Areas: We began by identifying key areas in my life and work to structure the system.
  2. Creating Areas and Categories: We established specific areas and then defined categories within each area to cover all aspects of my personal and professional life.
  3. Customization: We fine-tuned these categories to fit my unique needs, activities, and responsibilities. This included adding, removing, or renaming categories.
  4. Practical Application: We tested the system with real-life examples to ensure its usefulness and adaptability.
  5. Finalizing: The final system is tailored specifically to my lifestyle, ensuring flexibility and scalability.

Key Differences from Initial to Final System:

  • Personalized Areas and Categories: Unlike initial generic setups, we customized areas and categories, such as “Haltung” (Attitude) and “Beruf und Berufung” (Profession and Calling), tailored to my specific life and work.
  • Flexibility and Scalability: We emphasized creating a system that can adapt to future changes and growth in my life.
  • Integration of Personal Values: We incorporated personal goals and values, like my “Big 5 for Life”, making the system reflective of my personal philosophies.

This journey has led to a Johnny.Decimal system that’s not just theoretically sound but practically applicable, reflecting my unique needs and lifestyle.

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Oh no…

(That is ChatGPT, by the way)

Here is a chat I had with J.D Architect to generate a J.D structure for my genealogy research:

Are you familiar with the book “Evidence, Explained, 3rd Edition” by Elizabeth Shown Mills?

Johnny.Decimal Architect

Yes, “Evidence Explained: Citing History Sources from Artifacts to Cyberspace, 3rd Edition” by Elizabeth Shown Mills is a comprehensive guide that focuses on the proper citation of historical sources. It covers a wide range of materials, including documents found in archives, digital sources, and personal artifacts. The book is especially valuable for genealogists, historians, and researchers who work with historical documents, providing detailed instructions on how to cite sources accurately to maintain the integrity and credibility of their research. It’s known for its depth and breadth in covering citation practices for both traditional and digital sources.


Can you generate a Johnny.Decimal file structure that could encompass the many types of evidence discussed in Mills’book?

Johnny.Decimal Architect

Creating a Johnny.Decimal file structure to encompass the many types of evidence discussed in “Evidence, Explained” by Elizabeth Shown Mills requires a systematic approach that can accommodate a wide variety of sources. Given the book’s comprehensive coverage, the structure will need to be adaptable and expandable. Here’s a suggested framework:

Johnny.Decimal Structure for Historical Research and Evidence

00-09 Administrative

  • 00.01 Policies & Procedures
  • 00.02 Research Guidelines
  • 00.03 Citation Standards
  • 00.04 Templates & Tools

10-19 Archives & Physical Sources

  • 10.01 Official Records (Birth, Marriage, Death)
  • 10.02 Census Records
  • 10.03 Land & Property Records
  • 10.04 Court Records

20-29 Books, Publications & Digital Sources

  • 20.01 Books & Monographs
  • 20.02 Academic Journals
  • 20.03 Newspapers & Magazines
  • 20.04 Online Databases

30-39 Artifacts & Personal History

  • 30.01 Letters & Diaries
  • 30.02 Photographs & Albums
  • 30.03 Personal Items
  • 30.04 Oral Histories & Interviews

40-49 International Resources

  • 40.01 European Sources
  • 40.02 North American Sources
  • 40.03 Asian Sources
  • 40.04 African & Middle Eastern Sources

50-59 Special Collections & Miscellaneous

  • 50.01 Religious Records
  • 50.02 Military Records
  • 50.03 Immigrant & Passenger Records
  • 50.04 Educational & Employment Records

Guidelines for Using the Johnny.Decimal System with Historical Research

  1. Expandability: This structure starts with broad categories, but each subcategory can be expanded. For example, “10.02 Census Records” can include subfolders like “10.02.01 US Census 1900” or “10.02.02 UK Census 1911”.
  2. Customization: Adjust the categories based on your research focus. If you’re focusing on a specific geographical area or time period, you might add or modify sections to better suit your needs.
  3. Cross-referencing: For documents that fit into multiple categories (e.g., a letter that’s both a personal item and a historical record), choose the primary category but consider a cross-reference system. This could be a digital note in each relevant section pointing to the document’s primary location.
  4. Digital Management: Use digital tools that support tags or keywords. This allows for easier searching and linking between related documents across different categories.
  5. Consistent Naming: Apply a consistent naming convention for files and folders within the Johnny.Decimal system. This might include dates, short descriptions, and unique identifiers to make retrieval straightforward.

This Johnny.Decimal structure is designed to be a starting point. As you work with your historical documents and evidence, you’ll find opportunities to refine and expand the system to better meet your specific research needs.

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This is the first few attempts to use J.D Architect to generate a file system for my genealogy research. I like the final result. It’s long, so I’m postiong the chat link.

This is really cool. Saving this for later.

I don’t know if this is progress or not…

“A librarian”. Although it’s not true, I really wish it was.

need want must, I have three system! I need to consolidate

its learning all the time