Monday, December 17, 2007

Finding Space

I decided to take time over the past few weeks to clear out some of the many magazines, papers and other reference materials I've managed to hold onto for far too long. But, it's like trying to solve one of those puzzles handed out as favors at a birthday party when I was in elementary school many eons ago. I clean and clean and clean - I bundle and bag and recycle and even though I am making great progress I also feel like I'm getting nowhere. I think I've managed to scare the recylce pick-up person as I clearly am an aggressive recycler.

Another thing about holding onto certain information too long is that information is perishable. A good intelligence officer (some would say there is no such animal) will tell you that information is only valuable if received when it can be used effectively. Moreover, there is so much information now archived on the internet - some you have to pay for - that it's now so much easier to just search for it.

I've switched to electronic delivery of just about everything I can - and you guessed it - my email inbox is now as cluttered as my snail mailbox used to be - and even more so. However, I do find it much easier to purge the electronic mailbox than the physical one. In my last posting I talked about the digital revolution and I for one welcome the switch on most things. However, I'm not ready to switch some of my magazine subscriptions to the digital device without the option for color - among some other desired features. I do have some magazine subscriptions coming to me electronically but they are easier to read on a larger computer screen than on a B&W smaller ebook device.

Still, as I was purging some older reference materials I did note that I am already capturing more and more reference materials electronically than I did even five years ago. That's because it's so much easier to do so. The main way I capture articles and other information of interest is to print to pdf format into a well-organized electronic file structure for my use only. I like to share links with folks on my blogs and in my various writer forums but my pdf files are for me and my reference. It's easy even for writers to forget that online material is copyrighted. It's almost too easy to share stuff on the web and forget copyright restrictions. The best way to share is by sending a link or using the publishers email option.

I often hear in writers forums the concern about electronic material being 'stolen' and republished illegally therefore depriving the author and publisher of royalties. This is a legitimate concern but as a friend of mine who's a publisher said, the cost of using some of the digital security software is so high that the ebooks would have to be priced well above amounts most folks would be willing to fork over. Besides, word on the street is that hackers have already cracked some of the security measures. So, it's not an easy situation to deal with.

As we go from gigabytes to terabytes to petabyes it's clear that we are addicted to information. Check out this link for just how much data we are poised to capture in the near future:

http://www.t1shopper.com/tools/calculate/

Another site I like for computer references like these is:

www.webopedia.com.

Well back to my efforts to reduce my paper clutter and make more space for what I like to do best - read and write.