Thursday, November 21, 2013

Shared Chaos

We have computer storage areas (that is, storage areas set up on university servers somewhere in physical space, rather than closets where we store spare computers), and some of those storage areas are dedicated in specific "drives" (a denotation which makes sense when you're talking about a hard drive, but I'm not sure that's how these storage areas work in physical space at all; who knows).

So, there's a "drive" for the [organizational unit] for this committee I'm chairing, and within that OU drive, there's a big file area for the committee I'm chairing (which I'm going to call the CIC for now).  And within that big file area are CIC stuff dating back to when the drive was first set up, long ago.  And it's all the heck over.

There are file folders labeled: Urgent Work
And there are file folders labeled by year: 2007
And file folders by topic: Forms to fill out, or meeting notes

And there are "loose" files, some of meeting notes, some of forms, some of committee actions, and some with names such as LBP34, where LBP doesn't seem to stand for anything I can recognize even when I open up the file and read that it's meeting notes from 2011.  You know each person who put something in there thought they were saving it in a place where it would be "easy" to find, but over time, and with different ideas of what's "easy" to find, it just becomes chaos.  And then a new chair takes over, and labels things a different way, but doesn't change the last chair's labels, and so on.

I'll be honest.  I may be a little obsessive about some organizational sort of stuff.  I keep, for example, files for works I teach, and files for classes, and files for committee work.  My teaching files are alphabetical by author.  My books are organized in shelves:  Shakespeare alphabetical by title, crit/theory type alphabetical by author, other early modern lit alphabetical by author/title, other plays alphabetical by author/title, other lit alphabetical by author/title.  (Then there are the anthologies, which are on the bottom shelf.)

So the OU drive disorganization bothers me.

Or did.  Because this morning, I got to the point of bother where I just started reorganizing.  I started with the premise that stuff older than 3 years can all be put together.  And most stuff that's not from this year can be put by year.  And then stuff that gets re-used, such as Forms to fill out, can be put together and not separated by year.

So now the OU drive looks something like this, by file folder:

CIC 2010 and older
CIC 2010-2011
CIC 2011-2012
CIC 2012-2013
CIC 2013-2014 Agenda and Minutes
CIC 2013-2014 Communications
CIC 2013-2014 Work in Progress
Forms to fill out
General Information

At the end of the year, I'll make a CIC 2013-2014 folder, and put the three folders in there as subfolders.  At least that's my plan.

I feel so much better now. 


  1. We are obviously kindred spirits. And you've just identified the chief reason why my spouse and I can't share a computer!

  2. Hmm. Wanna create file folders for my microsoft office work email?