Friday, February 12, 2010


In my book Iron Hoop I portray a conversation between the local junk man and a crony about how the junk man arranges things in the junk yard. It is a very thinly disguised metaphor about the inherent problems I have with taxonomies.

The one I have a continual problem with and never get around to fixing is my folder arrangement on my computer. I have a folder called Presentations in which I file my PowerPoint presentations. Within that I have some subfolders for specific conferences or organizations.

But I also have peer level folders for those same organizations and conferences to collect documents and correspondence.

You guessed it; I'm inconsistent with where I store PowerPoint presentations and always have to scratch my head and wonder if it is in Presentations\STC or STC\Presentations.

Essentially I'm conflicted between Object\Audience and Audience\Object. I wonder if there is a natural taxonomy that would guide me, some world view that could serve as a model for these kinds of decisions. I've wondered about the Carnegie Mellon food|shelter|handle research, but that's not getting through.


BTW, I used to have a similar dilemma with what goes in the columns and what goes in the rows in designing tables. I think I solved that. See my UXmatters column.

1 comment:

Margaret said...

It's not possible to know how a hew project not related to what you have previously done is going to fit into your filing system scheme. You give a new project a new file with what seems like a reasonable name. Later it gets a related, but different sibling project, and you may or may not create a higher-level directory to hold them both.

Periodically, when disk space is tight, when I finish a project, or when I realize I haven't backed up my files during the last quarter, I go through my files, delete excess backups, and reorganize the files by product name, and then by document name. Then I gather all the related screenshot and graphics files into subsidiary directories under the product/ document/levels. I pull all the leftover rag-tag bits and pieces into files labeled "Related Source Materials".

Periodically reorganizing my completed projects ensures that I'll be able to find what I need if they need upgrades in the future, or that someone else will be able to search them on the network, and that I won't look like an idiot.

The files on my current project may still be in creative chaos as I add new files and categories from day to day.