A Lifetime Quest

In 1981 I was working in the newly formed Office Systems team in the UK National Computing Centre, and I was interested in how the new technology could support the management of an individual’s office documents. So a colleague, John Pritchard, and I decided to experiment with our own documents. This was the start of a still-running practical exploration of how to manage personal documents. My collection is now very large and comprehensive, and each document is indexed and scanned. Consequently there is a substantial system and set of contents in place to explore questions like ‘How do you access a 30 year old document in an old file format’. Two papers have been published on some of the issues that arise, but there are still a few more questions I’d like to explore. And beyond that, I’d like to establish if the whole system is of any value to, say, a research institution who I could pass it onto, or whether, after I can no longer make use of it, it should just all be deleted.

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