Pros: tough, holds media materials. well designed
Cons: not more colors available
It takes a lot of organization to be a grad student. Actually, most people I know could replace whatever their identity is with grad student. Parents need to be organized. Secretaries need to be organized. Boy Scouts need to be organized. Sometimes a tool comes around that makes organizing easier. For me, the latest and best investment was a Beautone Docu-Manager Poly Expanding File with 2 Media & 13 File Pockets. These come in both blue and black. My only regret is that they don't come in more colors.
As a grad student, the Docu-manager is great for doing research. Although my final thesis will answer one question, there are many sections to my final paper. As I begin to organize my thesis, I can divide my materials in ways that make sense for me. I can organize them according to what section of the paper things will be used in, or the type of material -- copied articles, class notes, rough drafts, quotes. As far as that goes, there are many expandable files that would do. So why this one?
The Beautone Docu-Manager Poly Expanding File has not only 13 file pocket sections, but 2 media pockets up front. This means I can transport a couple of floppy discs, or a CD-ROM, or a Zip Disc depending on what I might need. This comes in very handy.
The Docu-Manager is designed to hold 8.5"x11" documents. It's made of polypropylene which keeps my documents from getting wet and helps to shield me when I forget my umbrella. The polypropylene is also tougher than the cardboard file folders I've dealt with. It resists tears and doesn't get as worn looking with wear. The unit comes with a spine label so you can identify the file from the top if you store it in a file drawer (where they fit very nicely, by the way.) It also comes with labels to insert into each section's tabs. It has an elastic closure which I find better than a velcro closure because there are some days I need to put more into it and a velcro closure can limit it.
I use the black DocuManager for grad student stuff. I use my blue one for substitute teaching. I wish they came in more colors. I know that I could just read the label on the spine, but there are times where it's easier to grab the color you need and head out. Other than that, however, I am sold on these Docu-Managers and would recommend them to anyone who is trying to get organized.