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sea of stuff.

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Apr. 20th, 2003 | 08:53 pm

So I was bored and started looking at the Association for Computing Machinery's website, and eventually found their journal section.

There I read, The character, value, and management of personal paper archives which was interesting. Basically they analyzed how people had collected paper over the years, and what they'd do when faced with a need to fit into a smaller space.

One of the results I found interesting was that piling was a better strategy at organizing paper documents than most people give it credit for. Important stuff filters up, unimportant stuff filters down. Also while looking through the pile one is more likely to discover things you don't need any more and dispose of them. People who were more inclined to file things promptly accreted stuff faster than the pilers. (Once something was filed people were loath to dispose of it.) In fact when faced with moving into a smaller space people were more likely to dispose of papers they hadn't seen yet, than get rid of things they'd spent time organizing.

(And it ended up being related to human-computer interaction, by making suggestions on what might be useful for handling all of the electronic documents people collect).

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from: soulsong
date: Apr. 21st, 2003 04:44 am (UTC)
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I used to file everything, but a couple of years ago started to pile papers for a year before going through them and dumping/filing (usually triggered by moving house). While it's irritating to have piles of unsorted papers lying around, it's true that things are easier to find because they're automatically time&importance sorted. I have a separate pile for "must deal with this stuff asap".

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