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About this blog: random thoughts, discoveries, ramblings. Much of this was originally composed as email to a local history mailing list, rather than being written specifically for publishing, so it's a little disjointed. I figured it was better to get it out to everyone else in rough form rather than not at all.

If you have a common interest in anything, or can add further to the information I've provided here, please contact me.

  Storing "today's" documents

18 July 2007, 4:50pm      

I'm a bit of a hoarder with documents, as I think that I may need them some day. I've been sorting through many of them today, deciding which ones to shred and which ones may still be required.

Some of them are not really important - such as an electricity bill from 1999 - but I thought it would be interesting to convert a small portion of them into digital format and save them for the future. It could be interesting for our kids or grandchildren in decades ahead to see a tangible address listed, or see how "cheap" it was to live in the 1990s and 2000s.

I also found a plan for a display home in Craigieburn that we based our
own on, and scribbled some notes on it to that effect.

I'm going to try and make a more proactive effort to document what is happening today, even though I may not find it interesting. Then again, sifting through some of my business records from the late 1990s brought back some memories...

So, don't throw out those old, unimportant documents indiscriminately! Choose a few to copy and save.

Don't forget my suggestion of documenting the mundane... take a pic of what's in your shopping bag, or the contents of your garage. It could be of much interest in later years.


Wouldn't it be great if there was a long term archive service for the general public? You could submit your documents and specify when they're to be released, and to whom. In these days of digital everything storage of a large number of relatively irrelevant documents would not be a logistical nightmare like it would be with paper. The documents would also be indexed electronically so that a search would involve a few seconds at a computer rather than accumulating documents over days, weeks, even years from multiple sources.

I don't know if it could ever happen, as there would be issues with privacy and ultimately the survival of the service for long enough to be of use. I can dream...

For now I'm going to start my own little paper folder, with an electronic copy. So far I've got:

- A receipt for a hard drive purchase
- A tag that was placed on my camera when it was repaired at Canon
- A rates notice for our land when it was undeveloped
- An invoice for some couches which kept breaking
- A credit card statement from 2004
- A few electricity, gas and water bills
- An order to install a second phone line at this house
- A business invoice from Telstra Internet showing billing errors (very common) and the scary amounts of money I paid them every month in the late 1990s
- Another business invoice from Telstra showing a typical phone bill from the same period, again with numerous errors

All of this is relatively recent as I only moved out of home and started fending for myself about 12 years ago. The business invoices have a bit of sentimental value (I wound up the ISP in 2001) but the rest of the documents are probably quite uninteresting at the moment.

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