Thursday, February 12, 2009
Cleanup time -- again
You’d think I could get this clean-up-the-workspace project taken care of for once and for all. I think of myself as a fairly organized person. Librarians at least know where the books go on the shelf -- and I used to file catalog cards in their prescribed and very precise filing order. But those items have predetermined places.
The difficulty comes, first, with not putting materials back in place when one is done with them, and, second, having to determine anew the place for certain acquisitions, whether they are notes, charts, printouts, or those essential scraps of paper. I hate to confess it, but I still have things in all those categories from my trip to Salt Lake City last fall.
There are archival binders, legal and letter-size folders, three two-drawer filing cabinets, a “to file” basket, several feet of bookshelves, bankers’ boxes, clamshell containers, more than a dozen three-ring binders --- the list is endless. Some are in use, and a few are empty, waiting to be used. I just cleared some space in one of the filing cabinets by getting rid of several dozen floppy discs. Floppies!! What was I thinking?
A research trip requires a certain number of papers as well as the trusty laptop. Once I return home, unfortunately, they don’t get refiled (or I forget where they went). Add to this a mix of genealogical periodicals which I scan eagerly as soon as they arrive, then set aside to put away after I check out the references of interest. (Whenever that might be.)
Then there are the boxes of family photos which I have been scanning off and on for several months. At least that project has moved forward to some degree. The scanned photos have been divided into groups based on family line and time period, and I have copied the most important of them to a CD, just to prove to myself I could do it. This will go in the safe deposit box soon. I also bought an external hard drive and activated the “time machine” feature on my Macbook, enabling automatic backups of absolutely everything. Of course if the house burned down, both the Mac and the hard drive would probably be gone -- that’s why it is so important to keep copies of photos and important documents off site in the safe deposit box.
But meanwhile the original photos, those actual prints from before the days of digital cameras, sit in boxes and binders awaiting some serious sorting and re-arranging. The archival binders have the very most precious, mostly older, photographs and documents (or copies), but there are still many, many pictures to be dealt with.
I have mentioned this before, but Sally Jacobs’ blog, “The Practical Archivist,” is well worth a visit. She is of the opinion that not every single photo is worth saving. A shocking concept at first, but on reflection, quite a useful one.
Speaking of organizing, the files on the computer need work, too. But perhaps that is a subject for another time.