I’ll give you an example, my old jobs where I did marketing materials that are kind of worth keeping because I spent a lot of time on them, they show my capability, they’re somewhat of a ‘portfolio’ though I’m never going to need them for their intended purpose. Also, university. I did lots of assignments, got lots of useful knowledge and learning materials as well as presentations etc. They’re just sitting in folders on iCloud. Do you think deleting them and avoiding a ‘hoarding’ mindset is worth it? Or do you say leave them, and ignore if they come up mid-Spotlight search etc. Or is there any other solution?
I’ve referenced old stuff enough times. If it’s not costing you anything, I say keep it. You can tell Spotlight not to index that folder if you don’t want it popping up in searches.
I backup all of my files using
rsync and keyboard maestro to an external drive. So, when I delete older files locally, they’re still on my external drive.
I keep everything like that in an “Archive” folder, then have Spotlight / Alfred ignore the folder.
I’ve archived a lot of old tax returns, even some which are beyond the date you might normally need to keep them for audit purposes. Before archival, I compressed the folders, now just one zipped ‘file’ for each year. I also did this for several other folders of things I keep (often for no good reason) but haven’t touched in awhile. When I do get around to that project, I can just uncompress and go. In the meantime, they take up less cloud storage space.
Old school. I used to burn archival files to a CD/DVD. In the meantime, I transfer them to an external USB drive.
These aren’t old textbooks taking up space and gathering dust. Keep them until the day comes when you are 100% certain you want to get rid of them.
I recently took to zipping up old folders that I never look at but I’m too scared to delete. I don’t keep those in the cloud, except my Backblaze backup.
I’ve got files going back to the early 1980’s, and scans of paper documents. I keep everything. It costs virtually nothing to do so, takes little space, and you never know when you might need or want something.
I would say: if it does not eat anything, you don’t have to walk it every day, and does not cost extra, what’s the issue with keeping it?
Like @ismh above more or less. I am moving stuff to a DEVONthink archive folder, which I believe can be ignored by DEVONthink’s search if you chose to. Same principle as Stephen. Nearly all my stuff is text or pdf and there will never be a space issue as such for me. The only issue really is clutter and Stephen’s method solves that.
A good way to store them is Evernote. You will pay once for uploading them, then you will never pay even for the space they are using.
Folders in Dropbox by year, now also backed up to external HD. First year? 1957.
First document? A family member’s hospital bill at birthing. $10.00 a day for ten days.
The only data that I zealously conserve and protect as I move from computer to computer, drive to drive, are my photographs, and my genealogy files. I have several backups in different locations. I have never saved anything from any part of my education – finding as I moved through my career that none of those documents mattered to the work I did, and nostalgia for college disappeared soon after my last degree. Very few of the work products I did for early employers or clients mattered for the work I did for later employers and clients, so once the job or engagement is over I just get rid of stuff and recoup the space.
My rule of thumb for the bulk of my data as well as real-world objects is, if I haven’t thought of the object for six months, then it probably doesn’t matter if I throw it away.
I will confess that there is so little that one actually ever needs again. It was bad enough in the paper days. Now there is so much data that one way or the other never disappears. However I do have running work that has lasted for decades and papers and articles that, though I could find again, I like to have in my DEVONthink.
I did speak in depth once to a IT librarian at the British Library. It was fascinating. His view was that the real problem for an archivist was keeping and finding stuff that would READ the data, not storing it. There was, in the UK, a system called microfiche widely used in libaries; old newspapers were photographed onto tiny pieces of cellulose type film and there was a special magnifying reader. Those are now hard to come by, the cellulose is decaying or whatever and so on. Though those things are hardly ever looked at, once in a blue moon some scholar would find them useful. Future proofing my material against that kind of thing has become a focus for my attention. I go for plain text and pdf as much as I can. Still not convinced it will all be permanent?
Microfiche is still maintained by some hospitals in the US. As you pointed out, that was THE way to store things back in the day, and in some cases, the records have never been transferred to digital. I would like to think, that someday, we will have software that can read across all formats. There are a LOT of documents stored in medical facilities, and government silos, that are getting very fragile.
I suspected they were around somewhere. I am not involved in ‘that kind of thing’ anymore. The British Library guy included old phonographs, tape recorders, DVD players, Beta Max and the other format, those 3D viewer things, remember them? all sorts of stuff he was always looking out in yard sales and elsewhere for such things. It was his job so I guess he maybe felt more nervous than he might have. Do you think we will be able to read some of stuff in future years? I don’t know what is involved technically. Take old punch card imputs for example? I guess where there is a will there is a way?
Yep, I think we will, but, there will need to be a financial incentive for businesses to make that move. There was a time, many years ago, that I worked in I.T. and was part of a team who not only kept the most modern computers of the day running, but we also kept the “old stuff” going. One of my team members is now nearing his retirement age of almost 30 years, his only job is to keep a old platter Unix machine going, and to run tape backups every day before he goes home. There has not been any new data written to that system in YEARS.Another team member kept the Microfilm machines going. I have a friend who is a County Registrar of Deeds. The stories that I hear about the condition of some of the records disturbs me .
Until these groups that control the data decide to stop siloing it, it’s gonna stay fragmented. Once they decide to work together though, someone will come up with a way to read the old stuff and bring it into a more modern format, AND make it searchable.
That was really interesting and useful. I do fear for some records, I have that problem on my hands at the moment I wish I could go into detail, I really do.
I use a variety of methods. When I went paperless, all my scanned and other records went into a folder called “file cabinet”. All new records get filed there in various folders. Total space is now 3gb. Easily fits on a thumb drive for portability. I have an encrypted metal thumb drive on my keychain with all those records.
For media type files - movies, books, music, etc - they go on my Synology which is backed up.
After retiring from software development I didn’t keep much of anything I worked on. Didn’t have much relevance to any new projects I might work on. Also, looking back at some old code was almost embarrassing. Some of it was pretty bad.