Annual repository cleanup

Instead of resolutions, predictions, or retrospections, here are some thoughts about my mundane end-of-year activity: Cleaning up the repositories in my office.

It is amazing how much this procedure changes in each year. This time I noticed that my bookmark collection has imbruted (I hope this translation from the dictionary applies also to gardens and not only to animals?), as did the email archive before, and the papers’ shelves even longer before. Like a garden whose gardener has lost interest.

The reason is probably that the number of simple, unprocessed bookmarks has drastically decreased. If a web page doesn’t get me engaged at least to draw connections or take some notes immediately, then I won’t get back to it later, either.

  • Typically, I write down some notes in Notepad or on a Powerpoint empty slide, and then it’s easy to copy and paste the source URL here;
  • less frequently, the content is so interesting that it gives reason to a blog post,
  • or at least for sharing it using a Delicious bookmark annotation;
  • the rest ends up in my folder hierarchy, simply by drag and drop from the browser’s address line to the desktop (this is why I never maximize my browser window), often changing the careless title by appending a few words in brackets, and then dropping it to a folder shortcut.

As mentioned previously here and here, I invest quite a lot of energy in maintaining my folders, especially the (“see also”) folder shortcuts. So it seems rather frustrating when, at end-of-year cleanup time, I notice that I haven’t revisited most of the stuff before it gets obsolete?

But I think it is still not in vain to grow such a folder network. As we learned in the CCK08 course, knowledge has also to do with traversing the connections in the network. So the very constructing and resconstructing of these folder hierarchies and see-also networks has a benefit.

The pity is, that my dense network of “Shortcut to” links makes it difficult for me to move the folders around, because most of the time, the shortcuts break since there is no backlink maintenance. If I had such a mechanism to track my folder links, I think I would be happy without any further, sophisticated, dedicated PIM tool. (Ok I would still desire to visualize the links, like Personal Brain does which, again, does not honor the folders among the shortcuts). Perhaps the new “libraries” of Windows 7 will relieve the necessity of see-also shortcuts? But I doubt it, since I already hoped in vain for the stacks. (You might ask why I am not content with multiple tags: I still want to preserve one primary affiliation of each item,)

I would have loved to move all older folders out of my way, into a separate structure that would not waste time for searching or backing up or copying when moving to a new disk. (I cannot simply throw them away — compulsive hoarding syndrome?). Ideally, the system should indicate the aging folders by color change, say, from yellow to colder or greyer or paler colors. This time I manually determined all folders with no content younger that 2 years, and assigned them a different icon. Who knows what will happen to them at the end of this year.

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