Generic Category Prompts

The first ‘Record’ stage of the second ESB trial was completed earlier this week. Five examples from each of seven different collection were randomly selected:

  • Mementos from two separate collections, each with their own index
  • Letters scanned and held digitally on my laptop
  • Items stored in the Loft and recorded in the uGrok app
  • Music held on my laptop
  • Books scanned and held digitally on my laptop
  • Photos held digitally on my laptop

Random selection was achieved by using the free random number generator at Random.Org, and applying it to serial numbers in indexes, or to the numbers of folders and files in the laptop, depending on how each different collection was managed/stored.

Taking each collection in turn, in the order listed above, each item was considered and the thoughts generated were noted. The thoughts were then categorised, and a set of generic Category Prompts derived; these were then used to prompt thoughts in the next collection, and the process was repeated. As this exercise was completed across each collection, the list of generic Categories was built up. The final set of Category Prompts, expressed as a series of questions, is listed below:

Use the questions below to comment or speculate on the item

  1. What facts do you know, don’t know, or had forgotten about this item?
  2. What feelings does this item inspire in you?
  3. What does this item remind you off
  4. What opinions would you put forward about this item
  5. What action has the item prompted you to take with what results?
  6. Does this item inspire any thoughts about Collecting and Indexing?

The items selected, and their associated original thoughts, were then revisited using the above questions to identify any further thoughts; and all thoughts were then allocated to one or more of the six categories. Statistics associated with this whole process are shown in the following table.

The next stage of this work will use the Recorded Thoughts to Create a separate Story Board for each item.

[NB. While undertaking the above process, I started to think about how the creation of Story Boards could be automated. One possibility, which I shall ponder in the coming months, is to pose a question to users when they store collection files, for example, ‘What emotions and thoughts do you want to remember about this item?’. This could be augmented by the full set of Category Prompts if requested by the user.]

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