Industrious Waste

“I know.”, I said to myself this morning, it being a Sunday and I being at a loose end. “I’ll have a bit of a tidy up.” Thirteen black sacks, seven hours and one  backache later, I’ve managed to clear a relatively small, but nevertheless sizeable, collection of documents and dust.

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Much of this stuff was from conferences, and past government initiatives. My contention, and experience, is that if you wait long enough all the things you held dear twenty years ago, which were overtaken by “new” thinking and “new” approaches, will eventually come back into fashion.

The problem is, of course, that it doesn’t happen quickly enough, so you end up accumulating all sorts of stuff which may become fashionable again, but not before you’ve run out of space, had an extension built, moved to a larger house, or set the current house on fire through some form of spontaneous combustion of all that paper. Therefore it was with some reluctance that I finally divested myself of documents which are old enough, probably, to have acquired antique status. For example, I had worthy tomes published by the NCET, which predated Becta. Mind you, I console myself with the thought that nothing much changes: the old wisdom lives on in more recent documents, only the technology has changed.

I also discovered by response to the first draft of the National Strategies ICT Framework. I was working at the then QCA at the time, and we were asked to give our opinions of the work. I also found notes from conferences I’d forgotten about, and phone numbers I thought I’d lost.

I also regained the use of numerous plastic folders, and box files, and a sense of wonder at how much paper a subject like ICT can generate.

The only surprise, though, was not finding Lord Lucan lurking in the paper mountain I’ve created over the years.