I came upon an article the other day that used a term I had never heard before. The term is e-hoarding! I have watched a couple of those "Hoader" shows and I have to say, they kind of creeped me out. How could someone let themselves get into that situation?
The article sent me to my e-mail to see how old some of the documents in my mailbox are. Was I an e-hoarder? I was relieved that I have been pretty diligent in getting rid of older documents. Then I asked myself why I am so diligent with my e-mail but I am always discovering other documents on my hard drive that go years back and are no longer needed? Performance was the answer to my question! I want my e-mail to work at top speed and be able to find messages and documents quickly without having to weed through hundreds of old messages. On the hard drive I just put older documents in a "z-Old" folder within each folder and then promptly forget about them. (I use the z to put it at the bottom of an alphabetized view.) I have easy access to the newer documents as the older ones are out of the way, but they rarely get purged. Out of sight, out of mind!
All this started me thinking about the important task of developing an archival/purging strategy, a task that many times gets put on the back burner when a system is implemented. We always say we will deal with it when we have more data that can be purged. What inevitably happens is we only come back to thinking about that task when the data has been accumulating so long that it has created a crisis situation that cannot be ignored. We get a call that a file is full and cannot be expanded (stopping a process in its tracks) or performance slows down to a crawl because the files are so large and the users are complaining. At this point purging the data takes forever because the files are so large. Sometimes we cannot even complete the purge as we do not have enough disk space! Many systems purge by copying all the records that need to be retained to a new file and then deleting the original file. So now we are in a Catch-22 situation where we cannot continue to add to the files and we do not have enough disk space to do the purge. There is usually a solution to resolve this situation, but it is never quick and frequently involves paying a vendor or consultant to perform some magic to get the files down to a manageable size.
All these ruminations worried me enough to make some new resolutions to myself. The first resolution is to not become an e-hoarder and to make sure I always insist a purge routine is considered as part of the mandatory implementation steps. I also have promised myself that I will go through all those "z-Old" folders and get rid of what is no longer needed. Of course admitting that something is no longer needed is impossible for true hoarders! Hopefully I have not become one of "those" people!
Let us know if you think you have become an e-hoarder and give us your ideas of how to break yourself of this habit!