How big is your filing cabinet?


I was told a meeting yesterday that Angus council has more electronic storage than the British Library (see picture). That’s the place were they store hundreds of years worth of records from all corners of the British isles, increasingly in digital formats. How can that be I hear you ask. Well the answer is – I don’t know, but I have my suspicions.  I think it’s probably about working practices built up over time in paper based environments that we haven’t quite got around to changing despite the fact that we are working in increasingly digital ways. Or maybe its just that putting in more storage is easier than changing a work place culture?

So, for example, we email each other copies of documents which we all dutifully down load and save on our C drives rather than uploading a single document onto the file sharing service in in our organisation (SharePoint in our case) and emailing a link. We hold years worth of emails in our personal accounts and hardly ever, if ever, do any housekeeping, in line with retention policies of course, to thin them out. In short we carry on working in the same way we did when we worked exclusively on paper. Filling our digital filing cabinets just like the paper ones of old. Note to self – do some house keeping, and always ask do I need a copy ? Do I need to email that? And certainly do I need to print?

And on to a related rant! I heard on Radio 4 this week about calls made to 118 by civil servants at a cost of 10s of thousands of pounds. The speaker then made mention of senior civil servants not being digital natives and still having their emails printed out so they can write a paper reply that their secretary sends for them. Surely any one in a role like that should at least be digitally capable if not fully digitally native?

Off to do some deleting…..


One thought on “How big is your filing cabinet?

  1. A phone call or a face to face conversation takes less data space and less time than a 20 message email conversation copied to 43 different people. Maybe the future in part lies in the old ways of working??

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