xkcd: Old Files – How do we archive documents

Today’s xkcd comic is all about nesting in PIM (Personal Information Management) so many of us do over the years. The hierarchy of nested folders is build up based on e.g. buying a new computer, cleaning the Desktop, recovering a hard drive, etc. Over the years the files get buried deep down in the hierarchy and from my own experience is a great fun to discover lost memories.

The cueball is surprised he wrote poetry in the high school. This was like a deja-vu to me as I actually recently discovered in my archives that I wrote poetry as well 🙂.

Title text: Wow, ANIMORPHS-NOVEL.RTF? Just gonna, uh, go through and delete that from all my archives real quick.

The comic is explained here. The excerpt:

"Cueball is … digging into the depths of his filesystem. The
files are in concentric layers because each directory contains files
moved over from an older system [mabe even resemblink a disk of a hard drive], so his ‘Documents’ folder contains an ‘Old Desktop’ folder from an older computer, the ‘Old Desktop’ contains
files recovered from the drive crash of the system before that, which
had its own "My Documents" folder, which contained files saved from a
Zip Disk in high school. The result is that files from all the way back
in high school have survived to his present-day machine. He discovers
several files he is embarrassed about, including a poetry file … "

What is interesting is the naming convention that so many might find familiar. E.g.:

  • Old desktop: I have seen people creating old desktops folders when they got cluttered or when moving files from an old to a new machine. 
  • Recovered from drive crash: I did this myself when I recovered lots of files from an SD card which were all randomly named.
  • AAAFILES: naming a folder in a way so it remains on the top of the list of folders.

 Even if PIM is personal there are many similarities that many of us practice.