Saturday, November 07, 2009

Thoughts on Email Document Storage

Do you have a mixed relationship with your email accounts? Currently, I do. I have a work email for work, one account for receiving newsletters, forms and online banking, promos and miscellaneous things. And finally, I have another account I use for correspondence among friends and people outside of work and in a pinch I'll pass along my work email account to those who need to contact me pronto for something during the work week... Email is a great way to store stuff, but at times I wonder...

What does email have to do with libraries you might ask? The positives. Email is cheaper to use, uses less resources and in many cases is easier to store and find content when in need. When your at a branch and don't have the cash at the time to print a document out, saving it in an email account is practical storage. Would you rather have a filing cabinet of documents/books taking up space or a thumb drive and a backup hard drive in a single drawer? For me, it is thumb drive/backup hard drive.

When finding content in blogs or resource tools databases, most of the sources have the email friendly format icons or links. However, it is so tempting to email yourself an article for that "I'll read it later" instead of reading it right then. Chances are, If I don't have time for it now, I won't take time to read something later especially when it comes to blog posts or content on the web.

I have to admire two people who have due to necessity gone the opposite direction by abandoning email. Ronald Knuth (computer programming genius) who in 1990 gave up email due to so many messages he was receiving. The second is Luis Suarez (IBM Knowledge Management) a leader who is weaning himself off of frivolous email. Both of these guys seem to be doing well professionally after abandoning or limiting their use of email.

For me, I'm not giving up email anytime soon. Email is to practical to store reminders, documents, create a history of things, communicate with co-workers, friends, learn about milestones in lives of close friends, but I'm also finding sometimes it is just best to pickup the phone. Maybe someday, I'll put me email account on perpetual "out of office" mode, but until then don't look for me to try this anytime soon -- I like email way to much in the proper amount/form.

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