We all like to keep the content that we’re most interested in, so we put it away for later reference. By definition, that means we’ve already made decisions about what is “good” or better.
However, a number of things happen that combine to make the content collection more inconvenient than helpful.
For example, over time our experiences may change our reasons for keeping things, our habits for keeping them, or our ability to keep track of them as they get retrieved, reused and returned.
Additionally, almost anything carrying an interesting idea nowadays can be “digitized”. That immediately allows us to collect a hugely increased amount of content without being very selective, because there is little practical requirement to leave things out. Unfortunately, the after-effect is the haystack that later turns out to be hiding the needle you want.
It’s not surprising if your collection has these problems right now. For content that is important to reference, disorganized or overloaded collecting is a show-stopper.
The remedy, of course becomes re-organizing the collection, and bringing it down to size.
What are the priorities for organizing?
Given the problem we’re discussing, a top priority must be to make finding and retrieving the right content with the least ambiguity involved.
And how about sizing the collection?
The good news is that no one may need to use the entire collection at once. Every case of usage brings a perspective or context that makes things relevant. A good collection will anticipate the main reason why the content should be used again, and will try to advertise that by the way it is organized.
Organizing and sizing collections means offering groups of available content for clearly recommended reasons. Basically, this means providing a catalog instead of an inventory.