I find myself thinking about organizing my digital stuff again. The whole thing started with the thought "What would the optimal folder structure look like?". Thinking about this, I came to the conclusion, that

  • I simply need to create folders for each segment of my life
  • I can use links (virtual folders) if stuff is related to multiple segments.

But now the question is: What are the segments? Are there standard segments?

Do you know segmentation systems in use (i.e. in museums, sciences, libraries, universites, etc.) that could be used?


One first idea was to use roles that I have in live:

The Employee The Business Owner The Son The Father The Husband The Car Owner The House Owener The Investor The ...

Some of them can be pulled together (The Son, Father, Husband --> The Family Guy)

But where to put health, medical, sport, fitness related stuff. Where to put philosphy etc.

Is there maybe a more general level above?

  • I (my beliefes, goals, health)
  • Other People (Family, Friends, etc)
  • My Things (what I own/control)
  • My Roles (what I do)
  • ?

Do you have ideas for that?

  • 1
    I don't really understand the question. You are trying to organize your folders on your computer? – Trajan Espelien Jun 4 at 1:23
  • Yes. Or more correctly the content. If folders are needed (I think so) is also up to the debate. – KFleischer Jun 30 at 11:15

The issue is that you can organize your life in different ways, depending on the paradigm you use: "employee, son, father, etc." is one, "I, other people, my things" is another.

All these paradigms have value depending on how you're thinking of your life at the moment. Folders won't work for this because each digital thing would need to exist in only a single folder (or subfolder).

So one solution would be to tag things (somehow), and allow multiple tags for each thing. For example, if you're thinking of a job you had, you can find it with the tag "employee" (from the first paradigm), or the tag "I" (from the second paradigm).

So in regards to you actual question, which is "what segments (paradigms) to use", you can choose all of the paradigms that are useful to you, and for each of your digital things apply the tag that identifies it in each of the paradigms ("employee" as well as "I", for example).

  • Thanks for the tagging idea. That is interesting. But has some obvious questions (how to achieve this with your actual operation system) I can handle situations when a file/folder is relevant to several segments: I'm using a Linux OS which gives me "virtual folders"/links that look like folder but when you click on them, you jump to another part of the drive. i.e. when I have a folder with /pictures and I have a /work/events/workshopXYZ/pictures folder than, I can store those pictures under /pictures in a seperate folder and just link over to them. – KFleischer Jun 1 at 16:56
  • Interesting. However, the folder categories for one paradigm may not work in another paradigm. For example, 10 files might belong together in one paradigm, but in a different paradigm 6 fall into one category and 4 go into fit in another category. I'm not sure this will happen, but it came to mind and I wanted to mention it. I've been a fan of organization my whole life and I've run into that kind of issue plenty of times. (But maybe that's just me!) – BrettFromLA Jun 1 at 17:24
  • This is a great idea. I'm a fan of this type of organization, too. I'm also a programmer so I could envision a program that augments the operating system's file system with a tagging capability. Unfortunately, it wouldn't be too portable. – rory.ap Jun 1 at 18:13
  • @rory.ap thanks. It might be better in theory than in practice; gmail uses tagging, and I actually don't like it. I still use my old Hotmail account because the interface is simpler. – BrettFromLA Jun 4 at 12:54
  • @KFleischer If you organize files primarily in a stable way (i.e. chronological by creation date) then you can use folders made up of symlinks to them to define the overlapping groupings of them. – lossleader Jun 22 at 22:23

In my world, it has to be handy or it will not be used.

I use a Wiki which is the simplest database that is: fully searchable, relational, extremely flexible, fast, and cross-platform. It will sit in a cloud if you wish. It can evolve with you. It is the epitome of elegance. What else can you say about twelve lines of code?

Can you say,"Wikipedia"?

My whole file structure involves "of"ness and "about"ness.

Of refers to the subject content category directly. Family might be such a folder.
About refers to all the things that could involve that subject. Tags are another name for aboutness.

A Folder OF Family might be ABOUT documentation, wills, apology letter to mom, diploma, etc. would be some tags for family, say.

That may be too convoluted for you. Let's move on to the tool I want you to try.

While I'm thinking of it, you can decide to use your wiki in the cloud or on your own drives.

Your Security has been baked-in. For the following demo, the user-name and password is provided at the site. admin, 12345 (naturally you would use real ones.)

Try a password protected one at tiki wiki See how easy it is to use. Have a look at the features. Now, the bad news—it's only about 12 lines of open-source code. I keep a copy of this on my hard drive (to keep my MacOS 10.13 "documents") handy.

If you don't like that one, look at PBWorks.com which is where I keep my "public" personal files, my class work (handouts, assignments, projects, etc.) my reference articles, a working-copy of a dictionary of pre-press terms (published on Prepressure.com in final form collaboratively with others. etc.) etc.

Anything you're unfamiliar with is "strange." Do yourself a favour and move beyond your comfort zone.

All you have to do to "TAG" your page/file etc. is to add a line of information anywhere in the file such as: TAGS: Resume, CV, Curriculum Vitae, My Story, Me, I, Myself, First Draft, etc.

Then, to find that page (and anything else that shares the tags) enter the tag is the search field, press return. Boom!

Is that too tough?

EDIT: Call me hard-headed; but, I must get you to at least visit a site to allow them to tell you about their features directly. I'm convinced that you will be impressed to the point of trying out their solution for you.

TiddlyWiki.com

  • It doesn't matter where anything is or what anything is if you can retrieve what you want by name, subject, time, context, etc. at will, on demand. – Stan Jun 1 at 19:54
  • So you put all your documents into a wiki? You do not have files on the disc? Every excelsheet you create you also manually enter into the wiki? You upload 1000s of pictures into that wiki instead of using a photo management program (like digikam). – KFleischer Jun 3 at 20:49
  • @KFleischer A wiki is the simplest functional database. A wiki refers to the content and structure. It was an invention of Ward Cunningham while at the Portland Pattern Repository. Each file is uploaded to the wiki according to simple unique protocol where it can be managed, or retrieved. Can you say Wikipedia? : ) Do you need anything larger, more flexible, faster, more capable? Further, the look of the wiki can be fashioned with css "skins." – Stan Jun 3 at 22:14
  • @KFleischer Using a wiki, I can put everything on one huge scrollable page, or as individual code snippets, each on its own page. Either way, I can do a simple, or complex, search to pull up the "thing." It's a database, after all. – Stan Jun 3 at 22:18
  • Actual I dont like the idea of putting my stuff/files in a program. I very much like the directness that my OS gives me. i.e. I can hit ALT+SPACE than type what I want, hit enter and the thing gets opened. This is very handy. Putting it in an extra tool/SW makes storing files and retrieving files harder (at least by 1-5 actions/keyboard strikes). Thus I know myself enough that I wont use it. – KFleischer Jun 30 at 11:14

An effective technique for creating your structure is to use a Biography template to help you with the categories.

They are designed to be flexible and apply directly to the task you want to accomplish which is to organize and present your life.

We're all pretty much the same so the parts are similar while the dirty details are what defines our individuality. The categories are all pretty much the same throughout.

Here is a fill-in-the-blanks template to get you started. Here are a few more. Add your categories to these as you stumble upon them and as need arises. Autobiography templates are a bit different because they include a few more categories.

Good luck.

  • Ok. Quite a different approach. Thank you for recomending it. – KFleischer Jul 11 at 7:30

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