File management: what to keep

Welcome to the last post in this series of file management discussions (at least unless people have more questions! I plan to talk about tagging next, which is related, but different. And maybe my thoughts on using Wikipedia and other crowd-sourced tools sensibly. Suggestions and questions and such make me go “oooh” and put particular topics first, so feel free to suggest your favorites)

Anyway, the last topic on file management I really want to address is the question of what to keep. When I started using computers, hard drive space was precious and finite, and at some point, you generally had to look at deleting old material, or saving it to a long-term storage device that was more of a pain to access. These days, not only is storage cheaper, but I can use tools like my Time Capsule and Dropbox so that backing up files takes very little additional time and energy, and that deleting them often isn’t necessary.

(Have a good backup plan. And have a way to back up essential files that lives outside your house, in case of emergency/natural disaster/whatever. Some people swap USB drives with friends, or mail a DVD every few months to relatives out of state, both of which have some password protection options.)

On the other hand, large piles of files we’re never going to touch again, or that can be accessed in other ways make digital clutter that makes it hard to find the stuff we want to use.

So, what do we keep? Here’s what I keep.

Continue reading File management: what to keep

File management: naming

Time for the next installment on “How I manage files”, this one on naming. As with the other parts of this series of posts, there’s stuff that works for me that may not work for you, and vice versa (feel free to share in comments!)

Continue reading File management: naming

File management: self-awareness and philosophy

Welcome to part 1 of the “How I manage my files” reports. (You can read the prequel, in my previous post: My Computer Geography)

A few starting principles:

I work on the following theories. I list them so you know where my preferences are, and can adjust to whatever your preferences are (as yours are almost certainly different.)

  • Huge piles (well, lists) of files are not my friend.
  • I like seeing what I’ve done when it’s done.
  • I like to focus on the current thing, not see all the other stuff I should think about.

Continue reading File management: self-awareness and philosophy

My computer geography

Before I get into the series of “How I manage my files” that people seem to be interested in, I thought it might be a good idea to talk a bit about some very general structure of how I use my computer. Geography is really sort of the right word, except that this geography, I get to move things around, at least within broad limits.

Continue reading My computer geography

Hi, I’m Jen

Librarian, infovore, and general geek, likely to write comments about books, link collections, and other thoughts related to how we find, use, and take joy in information.

I'm the Information Technology Librarian at the University of Maine at Farmington, the small liberal arts college model campus in the University of Maine system.

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