60+ years of IP? records? or worm food?
One of the projects the ITP team has embraced since I started in this role is sorting our 60+ years of file storage. The cost of storing over 200 boxes in a temperature controlled storage facility isn’t insignificant. So we decided to bring them back to the office, work through them and return key documents - that should be kept for longevity - to storage for future prosperity, digitise others and shred the rest.
Opening the boxes we have found everything from whole boxes of typed (not printed) minutes, to printed documents, bank statements, tax returns, staplers, brochures, whole boxes of media releases, policy statements, books, magazines, folders, business cards, Christmas cards - seriously you name it we’ve found it.
The challenge for us now is how to sort this treasure chest, what to digitise and archive, what to keep in storage and what to turn into worm food via our wonderful shredder.
We have incredible respect for those leaders of the Computer Society and ITP of old who diligently filed and stored these records and items of IP so are struggling with taking the seemingly harsh yet completely necessary step of sorting and taking action.
Cloud’s can create the same challenges
One of my companies moved from using shared drives to Box.com then Dropbox.com then to Microsoft Sharepoint over a period of 15 years. With every move we have the dilemma of do we change the way we structure and store our files? Do we move / keep everything or have a cleanup on the way?
Storage is cheap so we always copied everything across, sometimes restructured and cleaned up. Recently I was cleaning up some folder structures in Sharepoint and found the old Box.com and Dropbox.com backups still sitting there waiting for some attention while the team have long since extracted everything they need and moved on.
You’re probably thinking, so what cloud storage is cheap. It is which is why we have these whole copies but like the storage cost of keeping 200 plus physical boxes it will add up and eventually the same sorting and deletion decisions are going to need attention.
What should we digitise? or keep?
For now we are planning to digitise sample sets of minutes and documents from different years, one of every policy document or publication from the Computer Society and keeping newspaper clippings, sample typed documents and other interesting pieces we have found. If you have any advice on the best way to create a great archive or what we should consider keeping that would be greatly appreciated. Equally if you have a few hours to spare and want to dig through old boxes you are welcome to join us anytime.
For now the ITP office looks like a storage depot. Here are a few pics of our current environment you might enjoy.
Kia whakatōmuri te haere whakamua: ‘I walk backwards into the future with my eyes fixed on my past’. Vic
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