Tidying Up your Research Files.

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The start to 2019 has been challenging on a personal level – this week I began to organise my research-files.

As anyone who has recently re-arranged their study knows, it has been a gruelling few days. Not the heavy lifting, although who would have thought cardboard boxes were so heavy? The real nuisance has been clearing, sorting, assessing what to keep as current, what to throw away, and what to store. It involves thinking and concentration. I must look at everything, sometimes read it, before I can make any decision on what to keep and what to bin.

I don’t like to throw out my original research notes.

I like to keep a record of negative findings, because I can draw conclusions.

I keep copies of documents on file: but so many records are now online, should I limit myself to maps and manuscript records that are only otherwise available in archives?

All of this to consider before I even begin to think about GDPR and data-protection.

I wonder, is there a Marie Kondo technique for genealogists and family historians, or should we simply keep everything “warts and all”? 

The fact that I found duplicate files for some projects tells me that by late 2018, my paper-work had begun to ‘run away with me.’ The clearing had to be done!

On the plus-side, there’s a bright new future within my grasp, where documents, books and case-files are close at hand and easy to find. So the first research tip for 2019 is, sort your information, whether it’s in paper and/or on computer; label it so that you can find it again; and decide how you want to present it, or store it.

Happy new year! 

 

By Fiona Fitzsimons