Welcome to iHCPL: The Next Generation. This site was created as the next step in Harris County Public Library's iHCPL Learning 2.0 Program; a discovery learning program designed to encourage staff to explore new technologies. The original iHCPL program was adapted from The Public Library of Charlotte & Mecklenburg County's Learning 2.0 Program.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Spring Cleaning #28: Don’t Clutter Up Expensive Cyberspace

As Spring arrives we start to think of cleaning out our closets, being organized with our physical spaces and possessions. Nowadays we also need to think about cleaning out our electronic folders and files as much as we do our drawers and closets. We will discuss HCPL’s policy regarding our files and go through three exercises to help us clean and organize! In the first post, we'll look at general organizational tips and techniques. In the second post, we'll look at email organization and deletion. Finally, we'll review files on the P, S and Z drives. This module is required for all staff and is worth 1 training hour (it may take you longer to actually clean up your files and email). Because this is required, if you don't have a blog and don't want to set one up you can alternately do your posts by email to your supervisor. In addition, this module must be completed by Wednesday, April 30.

Let's get to it...

Here’s a Pop Quiz to get your workday started. How much does it cost the taxpayers to store files on library computers?

  1. Nothing, it’s free – the government pays for it.
  2. $9.95 per computer per year
  3. $5,000
  4. $20,000
If you answered d. 20 grand you’re correct. Last year the library spent about $20,000 to enhance backup drives according to Gene Rollins, Assistant Director for Technology & Technical Services speaking at the Administrative Meeting on February 6, 2008.

Before we get to cleaning our email and files, let's take a look at some general organizational tips. There are numerous organization systems and theories, but one that is popular is GTD (Getting Things Done). This article from Wikipedia includes information on how to process your inbox, go through old files and links to other GTD sites. GTD has three models to help you gain control: establish a work flow process, use 6 levels of focus and the five stages of the natural planning method. The primary method is the work flow process:
  • Collect - Capture everything necessary to track and remember
  • Process - Follow a strict workflow
    • Start at the top
    • Do one item at a time
    • Don't put it back into the in-box
    • If it requires action either do it, delegate it, or defer it (Note: if it takes less than two minutes, do it immediately)
    • If it doesn't require action file it, throw it away/delete it, or incubate it for later action
  • Organize - Create a set of lists for items waiting for attention
  • Review - Daily or whenever possible
  • Do - Spend more time doing than organizing
Another site with general organizational tips is Zen Habits, which includes some on Technology.

While these exercises are mostly talking about cleaning up files, you might also want to consider online calendars and to-do lists in a broader organizational scheme. Several options are:

Discovery Exercise:

  1. Read about GTD.
  2. Try one of the online calendars or to-do lists.
  3. Write a post about how you can use GTD or what organizational system you already use.
This post was brought to you by Abigail Buchold, Bruce Farrar, Grace Lillevig, & Sandra Silvey.


Anonymous said...

For all online backup, file sharing and storage related info, I recommend this website:


Anonymous said...

This was some helpful advice that further helps me to organize my day. I do use a notebook---everything that needs to get done needs to be written down. I enjoyed the other sites that were available sources to use.

Anonymous said...

The HCPL cost facter was interesting. Other parts merely seemed to be related to exploring new generational info on what was available from programs within products used,(i.e. outlook iGTD, google calendar).