That’s a good point as well; and in conjunction with that, my methods of keeping a thing relevant throughout longer periods of chronology by referencing my searches and annotating my thoughts on older thoughts helps things to keep from bowing out if they shouldn’t.
This is all based on the original concept I came across, from the literal box of index cards method that was in part an inspiration. Whenever you pulled a card out of the box to look at it, you would put a little mark in the upper-right corner… up to five marks; but then replace it where you pulled it from (so as to preserve chronology). So frequently referenced cards would stick out in a stack by having little blots of ink. The more blots, the more you’ve looked at the card—really helps to find things you go back and look at frequently. It’s a decent method for analogue, but has its limits. For one, a thing might be frequently referenced in a 60 day period but then never used again, so its frequent-use status in that 60 day period artificially inflates its importance 200 days later. The marks never go away.
Using an internal more-cards-on-cards method embeds the frequency patterns into the system itself. However if someone liked the marking system, they could use star ratings in organisation programs that offer them, to emulate this.
There are other methods for keeping things visible even as they get older. In Boswell I would keep a “Present Tense” notebook with aliased entries, then just remove the entries when I was done. It worked okay, but I wasn’t 100% satisfied with it for reasons I could never pinpoint.
For everything else; the flood of things that rarely ever get used again—yes it is nice to have a system that naturally pushes them out of sight due to the physical layout of a stack. Reverse sorting is useful here. I always sort recent stuff to the top. Project focussed organisation requires further organisation to obscure old things. You must go back and “archive” stuff deeper to hide them. I don’t mind that terribly, but it is one more thing to do on a regular basis. That’s probably what I didn’t like about the Present Tense notebook. I’d rather design a mechanism that naturally degrades visibility due to disuse using plain-text/filesystem methods.
Hmm, something to think about. Maybe Lion’s new “Arrange By” feature could be useful here. It does have a “Date Last Opened” option.
I go back and forth on that. For a long time I was pretty ruthless about retrograding old files with modern meta-data methods. The bulk of the basic up-front system was extremely easy to do. For 99% of the legacy stuff, I was able to just do a batch re-name on everything. I made a script that checked the created date; converted that to my ID; and then appended the old filename to it. Yeah, it doesn’t have the SuperCategory stuff, but date and name is fine for all of that old stuff. After doing that, I could just easily go and cut the list into year/Q folders. So that was maybe an afternoon of work including the script design, and now I have all of that old stuff just about as accessible as everything else. It just doesn’t respond to my token searches—so that is something I am indeed gradually working backward on. I’ve gone all the way back to early 2008 (final system wasn’t solidified until Jan 4 2009), but of course the further back I go, the less relevant most of these files are to me today, so there isn’t much urgency.
What takes up most of my time, actually, is transcribing paper journals. I’ve got stacks of stuff that I wrote on busses and trains. For about eight years I had a bus/train commute that was anywhere from forty-five minutes to three+ hours long depending on where I lived—and I nearly always carried a Moleskine and pen with me—the amount of material I have left to transcribe is phenomenal. That is a slow process, and new material still accumulates from that vector, as I still walk around with pen and paper in the afternoons and weekends.
I said I go back and forth. Sometimes I wonder if the preservation of technique itself is not a useful thing to keep around. Maybe I should just leave these old files in their organised state, using whatever I used to organise them back then? The manner in which my organisational methods has shifted over time is in itself interesting information. But I think ultimately I would prefer to just have everything as accessible as the modern stuff. After a certain point, like I say, it becomes less important. Some old thought from 2003 might be interesting in a “Hmm, my how I have changed” kind of way, but I usually only ever go through that stuff in a nostalgic sense, so browsing works fine. Like I say, it would be nice but it isn’t necessary—so retrofitting is a very low priority thing for me.
You mean like in Spotlight? It should show you the full path of any selected item in the footer. If not, maybe it needs to be turned on. But is that a problem if you are using chronological folders? Path data is kind of redundant if so, since it is duplicated in the first bit of the title. The only purpose for paths is to keep lists shorter and provide a for a more fuzzy access method when the precise date is foggy in memory. Path data would be more important if categories were in the path and not the name.
Perhaps I am misunderstanding your question, though.
On the second part, I would know better if I knew what you were going for. grep is a pretty comprehensive search tool, there are a lot of things it can do—and likewise there are a lot of different GUIs out there with overlapping qualities. Are you specifically looking for a more literal search pattern ability, for instance—or the ability to get a list of filenames along with match context (like Google does)? Those are just a few examples.
That’s what I do as well. Remember to give them unique IDs (increment the seconds artificially if necessary). Since you are referencing them from the source document using that ID, that means you can look at a list of attachments, read the ID, then search for that ID to reveal the documents that refer to it. This is what I was talking about to in an earlier post, about how backward-cross-referencing is useful in both directions since the ID of the reference target is used in the link text itself. A search for that ID returns both the target and the previously unknown source (and anything else in the network of relationships which deal with that file).
Hmm, I don’t have a good tip for you offhand with this one. I rely on my custom scripts to generate the ID in the first place, so I simply have built the scripts to take a date and time string to generate an ID for something other than Now.
Does Mail set the file’s created/modified date to something useful in terms of when the message was sent? If so, check out Hazel’s renaming abilities. It can rename things according to filesystem dates—and has extensive date formatting controls for doing so. You would probably want to set up an “Incoming” folder that Hazel monitors, which performs this rename. I don’t think there is a way to search for whether or not something already has a certain pattern in the filename and ignore them. You wouldn’t want Hazel to be rewriting your existing stuff—plus if you are using chronological folders, you’ve have to remember to keep transferring your Hazel target to the latest.