Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Data disorganization

The Internet and personal computer have been around for what seems like a long time now, and the ease of accessing digital information, as well as the digitization of what once were traditional data libraries into databases, is offset by the disorganization of it all, as well as everyone's own attempts at sorting and organizing the data you have - pictures, documents, old saved emails and attachments, music, and so on.

I know for a fact that ever since I first got a computer, some 14 years ago, that the files on my harddrive have been a completely chaotic mishmash of files and folders downloaded and created at different times, sometimes with no hope of finding a file or document. With the explosion of web content in Web 2.0, things have just gotten worse.

And I'm not alone! Thanks to a nytimes column, "defeating bedlam," one scientist explores the crisis of data management, particularly evident in the realm of research. How does one go about reconciling the ever-growing piles of printed text, mysteriously-named pdfs, and random folders?

I'm rather hopeful that one of the new pieces of software will help us organize and sort through the Internets, and am going to be trying out "Zotero" - which is in fact a firefox plugin that, although similar to a search engine, allows US to categorize the data (in multiple ways).

Now if more people would just use those tags in blogposts, I might actually be able to find relevant topics!