I have a confession to make. I love old stuff. I love looking through old photographs and letters. I find old newspapers fascinating. The language used is similar but so different from the English I use today. The idioms are unfamiliar, the phrasing seems so stilted, and the ideas are – I want to say old-fashioned but that isn’t really right – just different from today.
I even like the smell, although I usually find myself sneezing. My allergies definitely don’t like old things. Well, that’s nothing new. I always seem to like the things that aren’t good for me – chocolate, onion rings, and archives. What a mix.
The thing is I am afraid that archives are going to disappear in the years to come.Why? Because we don’t appreciate the old things anymore. We don’t want to know the history of a word or a company. We like the shiny new disposable toys. The electronics The computers. The invisible, mysterious web of knowledge shining brightly on the Internet.
But, we can’t physically touch the material created in this brave new world. We certainly don’t file it in the same way or have the same workflows. So, what is going to happen to it in years to come. Well, without proper plans, it is going to be deleted and discarded along with the old technology and 3.5 inch floppies. Data from decades is being lost because we didn’t have the records management processes in place to handle it. We don’t consider that we might want to see an email regarding a special project in 50 years. The letter would have been filed.
We need records management systems NOW more than ever before.