An interlingual mechanism to achieve uniformity when classifying anything by subject. Using generic terminology in an especially oriented hierarchical structure, it directs the user to a single classification. The system captures acronyms, vernacular and industry-specific, as well as foreign terms, into a thesaurus that can be modified and appended as classification needs change. The system “learns” as synonyms are added to “family groups”, capturing differences in individual perception. Searching for an entity is quickly successful by reversing the process. To ask the system for the location of any item, a descriptive term is entered that the individual believes best describes the object in question. If this entry results in a “hit”, all information pertaining to the item is then available to query. If the entry term does not find a match in the generic structure, the system will search the synonym data base for a match. By arranging “generic terms” in a classified format, the system provides a single location for each record series and enables linking all relevant administrative document management functions and legal retention requirements. Selective and timely purging of documents is thus made possible, greatly facilitating the management of information for both current and prospective use.