Delete Sensitive Files

Approaches to Information Management

Susan would often return in her memories to the time after John’s death. She was trying to understand what she could do in order to prevent at least some of the situations she went through. She remembered her frustration when Amy and her would go through all the things at his home. They would feel like gold-miners, trying to find hints about anything that needed their attention. Her way to get over the difficult times was to laugh about them. She would often share a story about looking for computer files that would have an interest to be preserved. First of all, they found out that John didn’t have any system for organizing of his files. He was a good photographer and they wanted to keep some of his pictures. Luckily, his photographs were all together. In a folder called ‘holidays’ they found photos from his last trip to Paris. In one of them, his girl-friend was laying naked in an erotic pose on the bed of the hotel room.

Naming Convention

Each piece of information stored within our personal information space has some kind of identifier in order to enable easier retrieval and recognition. Some of them are attributed automatically and used exclusively by the software we use. But mostly it’s us who have to come up with a name, label, tag or keyword for the folders and files placed within our information structure. Normally, we do this as a part of the keeping activities.

We should come up with a consistent naming convention and stick to it. A name using descriptive and casual, rather than idiosyncratic, words is better, as it transmits more details about the particular information item. The names can help us to understand immediately what we will find within a file or folder. We should avoid using labels like Stuff since these folders serve only as holding bins, rather than meaningful organization elements. Something like Stuff from my desktop 11-07-20 may be more suitable, since it tells us at least where it was found and when it was created. Sometimes the names can even provide us with a summary of the file or folder content. We have increasingly more opportunities to embed additional information to our files in the form of meta-data, but applying a naming convention is faster and more convenient.

Processing our files into a structure and applying a naming convention helps us to remember what exactly we have stored in our personal space of information. A good and consistent system for names can considerably speed up the process of information retrieval and in some cases the file names can even serve as a reference during a conversation. A naming convention can become extremely useful when collaborating with other people. We should consider to discuss the organizational structure together, since it can prevent misunderstandings and it can contribute to a better efficiency of the work.

The bereaved often rely on our naming convention as the only support tool in retrieving the information from the personal information space after death. Often, they only have a rough idea of what they are looking for, as they don’t have contextual memories of the file location or any other additional information. The descriptive names can save them a lot of time, since they may recognize them more easily.